Waldenström’s Commentary on the Psalms of David

by Paul Peter Waldenström and translated by Mark Safstrom

Of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born therein...” Ps. 87:5.

The people of God is a people in its own right. When someone becomes born in Zion, that is to say, when someone through faith in Jesus becomes born from above, then he is a member of this people, without regard for which nation he belongs to in the worldly sense. Here there is no Jew or Greek, here there is no slave or free, here there is no man and woman; for each and every one of them is one in Christ Jesus, says Paul (Gal. 3:28). This is the only way through which one can conceivably unite all nations into one. Mighty kingdoms have been built in this world. The one people group has subjugated the other. There are also nations that consist of a multitude of different peoples. This is managed for a time. The whole thing is held together by force of weapon. But sooner or later it falls apart.

In the Christian congregation, on the other hand, a melting together is supposed to happen, in which all the differences of class and nation are supposed to disappear. Even if it goes slowly, it happens nonetheless – and it is surely happening. This is not only a matter of a superficial unification, but a true melting together, and even now one can already start to see the faint beginnings of this. For wherever on earth believers meet together, they feel themselves drawn together as brothers and sisters. This is God’s love in Christ Jesus, which makes them soft and melts away that which previously held them at a distance from one another.

Moreover, this may now come as a challenge to all believers, who have in this world assumed superior attitudes, not to be superior and exclude those believers who are lower, but instead think: “This person is born in Zion, he is in Christ Jesus just as I am, a child of God just as I am; yes, it can even be so that in God’s eyes he is superior to me, and that he will eventually assume a place far ahead of me in the kingdom of God.” May this also be a challenge for those who are insignificant in this world, so that they are not jealous of those who are exalted but instead think: “Now, I am born in Zion, just the same as they are; we both belong to God’s own people, to the same royal priesthood. Our lot down here is different, but there we will both radiate in the same eternal glory. It will all come to be so in a short little while.” The believers are all one single body, whose head is Christ, says Paul. O Lord, our God, give us your Spirit, so that we may understand this glory!

Paul Peter Waldenström was a Swedish revival preacher, and served as editor of Pietisten from 1868-1917.

See all articles by Paul Peter Waldenström

Mark Safstrom is Chief Editor of Pietisten, and teaches Swedish language and Scandinavian literature at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

See all articles by Mark Safstrom