Merciful and Gracious

Psalm 103:8-10 ESV

“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.”

God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth to take on human form so that one day he could die on a cross for our sins. Jesus is not only the Son of God, but he is God, and he was God in the flesh when he lived on this earth. And, he came to save us from our sins and to give us life in him eternal (See John 1 and Philippians 2).

In his death Jesus became sin for us so that when he died, he put our sins to death with him. And, he did this for us so that we can die with him to sin, and so that we can live to him and to his righteousness. For, when he shed his blood for us on that cross, he bought us back for God that we might now be God’s possession and that we might glorify God with our lives (1 Co. 6:19-20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Eph. 2:10; 1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:14).

Psalm 103:11-14 ESV

“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.”

God’s love is awesome! It is unfathomable! We who are humans are so undeserving of his love and grace. And, yet he loved us enough to die on a cross so that we could be delivered out of our bondage to sin in order that he might empower us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him.

Yet, not everyone is saved from his sins. Not everyone’s sins are forgiven him. Not everyone is going to heaven when he dies. Only those who fear the Lord have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. So, what does it mean to fear the Lord?

To fear God is to honor him as the holy God that he is. It is to revere and to respect him, and it is to walk in obedience to him, to do what he says to do. It is to bow the knee to him in humble submission to his will for our lives. And, it is to leave our sinful lifestyles behind us to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

But this salvation is not something we muster up ourselves. We are but dust. As followers of Jesus, we are but clay in the Potter’s hands. It is only by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, that any of us can be delivered from our slavery to sin and are able to walk in holiness.

But that faith is from God, so it submits to God. And, it is not just something we feel, but it is what we do that shows that we have faith. But it is done in the power of God’s Spirit, not in our own flesh. So, it isn’t us working to get salvation, but it is us walking by the Spirit of God by the faith he gives us.

Psalm 103:15-16 ESV

“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.”

Human life is frail. It is fleeting. We are all here for a time, and then we are gone. So, it is critical that we not waste the time that God has given us on this earth. It is crucial that we realize who God is and why he created us, for what purpose, and that we discover in him our purpose for being alive, and that we submit to his will for our lives while we still have time.

For, not one of us is promised tomorrow. Not one of us is guaranteed that tomorrow we will wake up and that we will have the breath of life, and that we will be able to go about our business as usual. For, our lives could be taken from us in the middle of the night while we are sleeping, and while we thought life was going to keep going on as it always had.

Don’t take the breath of life for granted. If anything, this recent situation we have all been experiencing should be teaching us that nothing is guaranteed us in this life other than the faithfulness of God. For, we don’t know what tomorrow is going to hold for us, for it changes so quickly.

So, don’t put off giving your life to Jesus, thinking there is always time, and that you can do it later. Or, don’t take God’s grace for granted, either, thinking that what you do or don’t do doesn’t matter to God. It does! And, we will be judged by what we did with God, too (Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8).

Psalm 103:17-19 ESV

“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.”

But God is always faithful. On that we can depend! He remains faithful to all that he said he would do regardless of what we do. But this doesn’t mean he will grant you eternal life with him just because you mouthed the words “Lord,” or you said that you believed in him.

Again, salvation from our slavery to sin and eternal life with God are dependent on us living in the fear of the Lord, and on us walking in obedience to his commands. And, this we cannot do in our flesh. It is impossible for us to live lives which are pleasing to God if we are still walking according to our flesh (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 4:17-24).

We must surrender our lives to Jesus, leave our old lives of sin behind us, and follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives if we want to spend eternity with him in glory (Lu. 9:23-26).

For, God’s grace to us is not free license to continue living in sin, but his grace instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet

Frances J Crosby, 1880
William H. Doane, 1876

“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they be red like crimson,
They shall be as wool!”
“Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow.”

Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!
He is of great compassion,
And of wondrous love;
Hear the voice that entreats you,
Oh, return ye unto God!

He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more;
“Look unto Me, ye people,”
Saith the Lord your God!
He’ll forgive your transgressions,
And remember them no more.

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