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.
Psalm 103:1-5 ESV
In the next two sections of scripture we are going to read that these benefits of forgiveness of sin, healing, redemption, steadfast love and mercy, and all that is for our good are for those who walk in the fear the Lord, who honor him for the holy God he is, and who do (in practice) what he commands. And, this teaching on the fear of the Lord is not just in the Old Testament, but it is what the New Testament teaches, too, for God does not change.
So, how are we who are walking in the fear of the Lord to bless our Lord? We are to bless him (praise him) with all that is within us – with all our heart, mind, strength, emotion, conduct, attitude, values and speech. We need to thank him and praise him for who he is, for all that he has done, for his sovereignty over all that he has made, for his divine character and purpose, and for his wonderful love, grace and mercy he provides.
But, this blessing of God is with our whole being, not just with our lips. We don’t praise our Lord just in song or just with words or just with hands raised in the air. But the way we truly bring him praise and honor is with our submission to his Lordship, with our forsaking of sin and our idols, and with our walks of obedience to his commands. We truly honor him and glorify him, not just with words, but with holy conduct and sincere hearts which are committed to following him and to living separate from all worldliness.
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
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.
Psalm 103:6-14 ESV
Again, we must read all these verses in the context of it being for those who fear him, who honor him, respect him, who listen to him, and who do what he says to do. And, again, this is New Testament teaching under the New Covenant, this is not just Old Covenant. So, we can’t discard it as irrelevant.
So, when it says that He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities, this is not saying that God judges no one. It is also not saying that all who merely profess his name are free to continue in their sinful practices while claiming that God’s grace covers it all.
Yes, he doesn’t deal with us according to our sins or else all of us would be lost in our sins, headed for hell. But, because he loves us, he came to earth and he died on a cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we can now, by his power and strength, walk righteously before Him.
But the faith to believe in him for salvation is God-given and divinely persuaded faith, and thus it submits to God and his purposes, and it forsakes lives of living for sin and self, and it turns to God to follow him in obedience to his commands and to his ways (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 2 Co. 5:15).
So, the Lord shows compassion towards, and he forgives the sins of those who walk in the fear of the Lord; who walk according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to the flesh. Forgiveness of sin is given to those who walk in the Light as He is in the Light, for those who are crucified with him in death to sin and who are resurrected with him in newness of life, and who are walking in his love and in surrender to him and in obedience to his commands (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
This is not saying we have to be sinless, for if we could be, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die for our sins. But, the Word of God is clear that true faith in him dies with him to sin and lives with him to righteousness as a matter of practice, of lifestyle, and that it endures with him until the end of time. It does not make sin its practice, for the one who does that will die in his sin, because he refused to die to his sin in the power of God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 2:6-8; 1 Jn. 2:24-25).
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.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103:15-19 ESV
Not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow. We are here for a period of time, and then we die, and we are gone. So, we have to take God’s Word seriously and not play around thinking we have all the time in the world, or thinking that God will not judge us if we are not walking according to his ways.
So many people are counting on going to heaven when they die just because they say they believe in Jesus Christ, or just because they feel they are good people, or just because they grew up going to church, or because their parents were professing Christians.
Many people, too, feel that if they confess their sins periodically that God forgives them, even if they are living in sin, in sexual immorality, in hate, in unforgiveness towards others, and in impurity and wickedness of many kinds. They don’t think their regular conduct or their sinful practices will impact their eternal security, and so they go on in their sin while claiming God’s blessings of forgiveness, comfort and compassion over their lives.
But, this is a reminder that our days are numbered and our lives are fleeting, and so we must take God and His Word to heart and DO what it says. Our lives are not our own, for we were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ shed on a cross for our sins. So, we are to honor God with our lives, and with our minds, our bodies, our attitudes and our words.
When we surrender our hearts to Jesus Christ, to follow Him in His ways and in His truth, to DO what he says, walking in the fear of the Lord, then we can claim these blessings of forgiveness of sin and eternal life with God in heaven. But, if we refuse, and if we defy our Lord and we dishonor him in pride, in hypocrisy and in sinful practices, his comfort, his forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life with God are not promised to us. We will die in our sins (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8).
So, surrender your all to Jesus today. Leave your lifestyles given over to sin and self behind you. Turn to your Lord to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. DO what He says to do. Walk in His ways. And, you will be saved from your sin and you will have eternal life with God in heaven.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!