Psalms 103:1-5 ESV
“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.”
Bless the Lord
To bless the Lord is to worship, to adore, to give praise to, and to bow the knee to him. And, that he is Lord, means that he is owner-master of our lives, he is sovereign, he is God, and he is the ruler of all. And to bless him with our souls is to praise him with the very essence of who we are.
And that thought continues by saying that we are to bless him with ALL that is within us – with our whole being. And that means we give him praise with our lips, with our obedience, with our submission to him as Lord, with our repentance, and with our minds, hearts, wills, attitudes, and actions.
For, to worship the Lord and to give him all our praise is to give ourselves to him wholeheartedly as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him, and for us to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world but to be transformed in mind of the Spirit of God.
Jesus, Our Healer
Jesus, when he walked the face of this earth, healed many people. I don’t know if they all had faith in him. They had enough faith to believe that he would heal them, it appears, though it was the faith of other people that healed them, at times, too. So, God may physically heal many people.
But, as those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, Jesus is not only our Savior and Lord, but he is our healer. I think many people forget that, and without even praying for healing they immediately run to the doctor and/or to the medicine cabinet for every pain.
I’d like to share with you, though, that Jesus should be the first and only one we run to for our healing, and we should pray to him for guidance in what choices to make, instead of bypassing him. For, he still heals miraculously. And he will lead us in what direction we should go.
Jesus led me to stop taking pharmaceuticals 13 years ago, and I trust him for every illness and every pain. I will use natural remedies, though, such as tea tree oil for bug bites and aloe for burns. And I will use heat and ice for pain and swelling. But I no longer pop pills to relieve pain and suffering.
He Forgives Our Iniquities
First of all, who is this benefit for? Forgiveness is offered to all. Jesus Christ died on that cross for all people that all would come to repentance and to have eternal life with God. And repentance involves leaving our lives of sin behind us to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his will for our lives.
So, there is a criterion here to receive this forgiveness. Yes, we have to believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but belief isn’t some words we repeat or some acknowledgment of what he did for us. Jesus defined faith in him as leaving our old lives of sin behind us and following him in obedience.
And that faith which is required for salvation from sin originated with Jesus, and is perfected by Jesus, and is persuaded by God, and is gifted to us by God, and thus it submits to Christ as Lord, and it follows him in obedience, and it forsakes our former lives of sin to live holy lives, pleasing to him.
Also, believing in Jesus Christ is not just past tense. It is present tense, and it is active faith that is still dying daily with Christ to sin and is living daily with Christ to his righteousness. By faith in Jesus Christ, we walk no longer according to the flesh, but now according to the Spirit.
And it is those who are believing in him (present tense), who are dying with him daily to sin, who are daily walking according to the Spirit, who are walking (in practice) in obedience to his commands, and who are loving God, and who are loving others, who are the inheritors of eternal life.
Who Redeems Your Life
For, our salvation from sin is not just about being forgiven our sin, being delivered from the punishment of sin (hell) and having the hope of heaven when we die. Jesus shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now be God’s possession and we’d honor him with our lives.
For, Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he died to deliver us from our slavery to sin so we would now be slaves of His righteousness.
Thus, being delivered from the pit isn’t just being delivered from hell, but it is being set free from our bondage (addiction) to sin which weighs us down and which ruins our lives and destroys our relationships with others and with God. And it is about freeing us to walk (in conduct) in our Lord’s holiness.
It is also freeing us from the control of sin and Satan, and it is freeing us to now come under the control of God’s Holy Spirit, so that our lives now belong to the Lord to do what he pleases, to be all that he wants us to be, to go where he sends us, and to say whatever he commands us to say.
And this is for the salvation of human lives and for the encouragement and strengthening and maturity of the body of Christ that we be the people of God he designed us to be for his purposes, and for his glory, doing what he called us to do and ministering in the gifts and ministries he provided for us.
He Satisfies You with Good
All this is for our good and for the good of others. It is God’s love for us which restricts us, and which sets reasonable boundaries for us, and which gives us standards we are to live by. It is God’s love for us which teaches us that we must say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we await his soon return.
The Lord is not trying to spoil all our fun. He is not trying to make us miserable. He loves us, and therefore he desires what is best for us. And he knows that what is best for us is that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, not that we continue living in sin without guilt.
For, freedom is not lawlessness nor freedom from moral standards nor from reasonable safety boundaries. It is not freedom to disobey our Lord deliberately, habitually, and premeditatedly. We are free to NOT sin, because Jesus set us free! Sin no longer holds us in its chains. Amen!
So, don’t buy into the lies that tell you that salvation from sin is freedom from having to obey the Lord and that it is freedom from the guilt of your willful disobedience. For, if we continue living in deliberate, habitual, and often premeditated sin against God, we will NOT inherit eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins. Heaven is, thus, NOT our eternal destiny.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
In the Garden
Lyrics and Music by Charles A. Miles, 1913
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
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