Compassionate and Gracious

Psalms 103:8-14 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.
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.”

We read here in verses 11, 13, and 17 regarding who these promises are for. They are for those who fear the Lord, who revere, respect, honor, value, and obey him. Those who fear the Lord take him and his word seriously. They believe God and what he says, and they act accordingly. So when they read in the Scriptures that those who make sin their practice will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, they believe that, and so they do not walk in sin but in righteousness and holiness and in obedience to the Lord.

Are we who fear the Lord perfect people? Not yet. We are being perfected by God if our lives are surrendered to him, and we are being sanctified and made holy, and we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ, but this is a process, but one in which we should be fully engaged in full cooperation with God’s work of transformation in our hearts and lives. So, we should no longer be walking in sin, but we should daily be dying to sin and to self and following our Lord in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

When Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins, he who knew no sin became sin for us. Thus, when he died, our sins died with him so that we, by faith in him, could die with him to sin and live to his righteousness. By his grace, through God-given faith in him, we are saved from our slavery to sin so that we can now, in the power of God, live holy and righteous lives in obedience to our Lord. So we are to no longer let sin reign in our bodies to make us obey its passions, but deliberate and habitual sin should be gone.

Now, when we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, and we submit to him as Lord of our lives, and so sin is no longer our deliberate practice, because we have died with Christ to sin, we are forgiven of all sin. And so the sins we have committed are no longer held to our account. And if we should sin again, the Lord is compassionate and gracious, and he will not deal with us according to our sin (1 John 2:1-2), but he will be our advocate. For great is his mercy toward those who fear him and who walk in his ways.

Now this is Old Testament, and so this is not specifically teaching the gospel of our salvation, but most, if not all of it, is in line with the teachings of the gospel in the New Testament. For the promises of God in the New Testament are for those who listen to the Lord and who obey him. For we read in the New Testament that if, after we have received the teaching of the gospel, we go on living in deliberate and habitual sin, and not in righteousness, and not in obedience to our Lord, that we don’t have salvation and eternal life.

So, yes, God is gracious. And yes, he is forgiving, but if we keep on in deliberate and habitual sin, and if obedience to our Lord is not our practice, then we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said it. Paul said it. The other apostles taught it. And so when this says that great is God’s mercy toward those who fear him, what Jesus and Paul and John and the others taught says the same. Thus, this forgiveness and grace is not applied to everyone who gives lip service to God, who by their actions deny him.

But our Lord is also not standing there with a hammer over our heads ready to strike whenever we falter and fail. But here I am speaking of us who fear the Lord and who are not continuing in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord, in God’s face, in direct opposition to and in rebellion against him. He is gracious and forgiving with those who honor him as Lord and who do not deliberately, habitually, and premeditatedly sin against him. But that does not make us perfect, and so it is good that he is merciful to us.

Psalms 103:17-18 NASB

“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.”

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Master, The Tempest is Raging!

Lyrics by Mary A. Baker, 1874
Music by Horatio R. Palmer, 1874

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?

Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today;
The depths of my sad heart are troubled—
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
And I perish! I perish! dear Master—
Oh, hasten, and take control.

Master, the terror is over,
The elements sweetly rest;
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast;
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more;
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

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