Compassionate and Gracious
Psalm 103:8-9 NASB
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
We, who are human, are all born into this world with sin natures, due to the sin of the first man, Adam (Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49). We are separate from God, without hope, and unable, in our own flesh, to be made right with God (Rom. 3:23). There is nothing we can do, in our flesh, to gain God’s divine approval or to secure our own salvation. Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad deeds. Our only hope is for God to do something to deliver us from our sins, and to set us free from our chains.
Well, the Good News is that he did just that. He sent his Only Begotten Son, God the Son, to the earth, to take on human flesh, to suffer as we suffer, and then to become sin for us on that cross, so that, in his death, our sins died, too. Jesus Christ died on that cross, though, not just to free us from the punishment of sin and to give us the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died to deliver us out of the pit – out of our slavery to sin.
He is not willing that any of us should perish, i.e. that any of us should die in our sins without the hope of eternal life with him, so he waits patiently for us to come to him in repentance, to turn from our lifestyles of sin, and to turn to follow him in obedience (2 Pet. 3:9). That is why he has delayed his judgments, to give everyone time to repent of their sins and to willingly follow him with their lives.
But, this is not to say that he won’t judge us at any given moment, i.e. that he won’t correct, rebuke, prune or chastise even those who are his children. But, when he does chastise us for continued and willful sin against him, it is for the purpose, usually, to bring us to repentance and to faith or renewed faith in him, which then, hopefully, results in submission and obedience to him, and a yielding of the control of our lives over to him. And, then he saves us or he renews and restores us to himself.
Those Who Fear Him
Psalm 103:10-14 NASB
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
If we were all to get what we deserve, we would all be cast into hell, and we would eternally be punished for our sins. But, because of God’s love and grace, he provided a way out for us from this punishment, but also from our slavery (addictions) to sin. Through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, via repentance and submission to Christ, we are delivered from death, from hell, and from our bondage (our chains) to sin. Amen!
But, this deliverance, though offered to all, is not applied to all people. It is applied only to those who “fear Him.”
To fear God is not to be afraid of him, but to show him awe, respect, honor, value, obedience, submission, and the like. True faith in Jesus Christ is divinely persuaded as to God’s will and purposes for our lives, and thus it submits to God, and it yields to His Lordship. True faith in Christ, thus, dies with Christ to sin and it lives with Christ to righteousness. This is what it means to fear God. And, this is what it means to be “born again.”
Psalm 103:15-18 NASB
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness 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 His precepts to do them.
All flesh will one day disappear. These bodies are our temporary homes. All that we accomplish in the flesh will also disappear. It will one day pass away. So, we are not to live our lives for the flesh, to please the flesh, but we are to live our lives for God, for what is eternal, and for God’s eternal kingdom. For, if we live our lives to please our flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God, no matter what faith in God we profess.
So, if we want to spend eternity with God, and to be free of our chains to sin while we live on this earth, then we need to walk in the fear of God and do what he says (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-25; etc.).
In other words, we are not saved from our sins, and have eternal life with God secured, based on a prayer we prayed or a confession of faith or past belief. It is whoever is believing in Him (present tense) who has eternal life with God. And, believing involves repentance and a walk of obedience and submission to the cross and yielding our lives over to the Lordship of Christ.
We must continue in Christ, remain in his love, and walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God and freedom from our sinful addictions while we are still here on the earth. We must deny self and daily take up our cross and follow Christ. We must die to our old lives of living for the flesh so that we can live our new lives in Christ in the Spirit, free from the control of sin over our lives.
We must, in other words, live our lives as though this world is truly not our home. We live in the world, but we are not to be of the world. We are not to live, act, think, speak or have the same attitude, philosophy and values that this sinful world has. But, we are to adopt the values, thinking, believing and behaviors of our holy God, and be holy as He is holy.
We can’t do this in our own flesh, but we can do this in the power of God and in the strength of the Lord and in the wisdom given to us by the Spirit who lives within us, but only as we walk in the fear of God, and yield our lives over to the control of our Lord. Then, we can live in the freedom from our addictions to sin that Jesus provided for us on that cross.
Not Our Home
Jonathan and Emily Martin
We are making our exodus
Out of this world of sin and death
We are making our exodus
Into the life that he’s promised
Oh… this is not our home
Oh… we’re headed for the kingdom…
Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 7:11 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouragements to walk in the fear of the Lord and to follow you in obedience and in surrender to your will, leaving our lives of sin behind us.