Monday, October 31, 2016, 11:26 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 103 (Select vv. ESV).
He is Our Redeemer (vv. 1-5)
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
It is awesome what God has done for us. Amen? We were all born into sin. God could have just left us there. He was under no obligation to save us from our sins. Jesus didn’t have to come to the earth, and humble himself, and take on human form. He could have stayed in heaven. He is God! And, he could have said “No” to the cross, except for the fact that it was God the Father’s will for him to leave heaven, to come to earth, to humble himself and then to die for our sins, and he was always submissive to the Father.
God doesn’t owe us salvation from sin. We don’t deserve his grace. We can do nothing to earn his forgiveness, either. He doesn’t have to put up with us. He could have wiped all humans from the earth a long time ago, if he had wanted to. He could have come in judgment many years ago, and poured out his wrath on the earth and on humankind. God is under no obligation to wait around for us to believe in him, and/or to follow him in obedience. And, he won’t wait forever, either. One day he is coming to judge. And, then the door will be closed to his salvation, and there will be no more chances. Yet, he is completely faithful to all his promises, and he will be true to his word.
The psalmist understood all this. He didn’t have an entitlement mindset that so many people have today. So many people today act as if God should be grateful that we chose to believe in him, as though we were doing God a favor. They act as if, too, that God is obligated to provide us with all his benefits now that we professed him as Savior of our lives, even if we fail to acknowledge him or to follow him from that point forward. So many of these people, as well, feel no sense of commitment to Jesus, and no desire to do his will. They see their salvation merely as a “get out of jail free card,” that gives them their free ticket to heaven, while they continue in sin (lifestyle).
With that kind of mindset, the fear of the Lord is lost. They have no problem at all just keeping on doing what they were doing before they were “saved.” Since they are taught that God requires nothing of them – no repentance, no obedience, and no surrender to Christ and his cross – they feel no sense of obligation to God to follow him or to even be humbled at the knowledge that God Almighty loved us so much that he sent his Son to die for us on a cross.
They see God as owing them everything, and them as owing him nothing. And, so they can’t possibly comprehend what God/Jesus really did for us. They also don’t have the humility of heart and mind to be so thankful that God loved us enough to give his life up for us, so we can be free from the pit of hell, and free from slavery to sin. Instead, they take God’s grace for granted, and keep on sinning, while claiming all his benefits for themselves.
Those Who Fear Him (vv. 8-14)
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
But, thanks be to God, he is merciful to us, and gracious, and he is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. I am so thankful for his mercy to me, for his patience towards me, and for his steadfast love. I do not deserve all that he has done for me. I am humbled greatly that he would choose me, and that he would use me for his purposes and for his glory. It amazes me often. But, this was his plan, to use human beings to bring forth his word, and to share the light of his gospel. And, it was his plan to save us, to purify us, to make us holy, and to transform us into the likeness of Christ.
So, according to this passage of scripture, God’s steadfast love, his pardon for sins, and his compassion are designated for those who fear him. So, that sounds like something is required on our part. Yet, is this what the New Testament teaches? And, what does it mean to fear God; to fear the Lord?
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God…” “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Ro. 3:10-11, 18). “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience” (2 Co. 5:9-11). “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Co. 7:1). “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29).
According to these passages of scripture in the New Testament, to fear God means to seek him, to walk in his righteousness, to follow him in obedience, to make it our goal to do what pleases him, and to reverence, honor and respect him. It means, as well, to cleanse our lives from what defiles us, and to bring holiness to completion in the fear (reverence, respect) of God. To be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from this sinful world because we are becoming like Jesus. And, what defiles (ruins) us is sin, so this is talking about leaving our lives of sin behind us and turning to walk in obedience and in surrender to God and to his will for our lives. We are also to offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. Our acceptable worship to God is that we give our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, and that we are no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but that we are transformed in the renewing of our minds.
Who Keep His Covenant (vv. 15-18)
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
Here it says that his steadfast love is eternally on those who fear him, and his righteousness is forever to those who keep his covenant and do his commandments. Does the New Testament teach this, as well?
Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, and take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). Paul said that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) not according to the flesh, but who walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die (without Christ), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity) (See: Ro. 8:1-14).
John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us (1 Jn. 1:6). He also said this about obeying God’s/Christ’s commandments:
“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 Jn. 2:3-6). “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 Jn. 3:24). “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love” (2 Jn. 1:6).
So, if we want to have the assurance of eternal life with God, and the hope of heaven when we die, we must walk in the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh. We must walk in the fear of the Lord, and not to please ourselves by continuing to live sinful lifestyles. And, we must walk in obedience to Christ and his Word, not thinking that nothing is required of us. We must understand that Jesus did not die just so we could escape hell and have heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return.
Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.
For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.
Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.
We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.
Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.
Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!