What Christian doesn’t yearn to be free from the nagging presence of sin–the grinding reality of a redeemed life pitted against our self-serving flesh in this sin-riddled world. Thankfully, God has made provision for our sin. The purpose of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice is to impart God’s own righteousness to us, in spite of our sinful nature.
Because we now belong to Him, we don’t need to earn God’s favor. We already have it! God showers His grace on us, making His righteousness our own. By His grace alone we are given the unbridled capacity for intimacy with God, in spite of the weakness of our flesh.
What is our life in Christ really all about? It’s about being as opposed to doing. God created us in His image to be someone. So if our relationship with God is all wrapped up in doing stuff for Him we’ve missed the point. A life lived in a manner pleasing to God must begin with intimacy with Him, pursuing Jesus in a way that builds our one-on-one relationship with Him. Yes, doing is very important, but it should always stem from first being what God intended.
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the Lord you His angels, mighty in strength, you who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word. Bless the Lord all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the Lord all you works of His, in all places of His dominion, bless the Lord O my soul. (Psalm 103: 19-22)
The prime theme of the entire Bible is not only God’s glory–that has eternally been established throughout all creation–but that we are to be about glorifying Him with every aspect of our lives. Live in a manner worthy of Him, the Apostle Paul says. Bless Him. Pursue the Lord Jesus Christ, you His chosen ones!
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. (Ps.103: 15-18)
Do you ever feel like your life is going nowhere? The days pass and you wonder if it all means anything? I think this is what David was experiencing–his life just blowing away like dead grass. Yet he knew that his Savior lives, and that his ultimate reward would be amazing. Hang on to God, serve Him with all the obedience and fervor you can muster. Your reward will be great!
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. (Psalm 103: 11-14)
Are any of you parents? When your child messes up does your love shut off? Of course not! Knowing that he or she is simply immature, your compassion and devotion come to the forefront–even though you may need some time to simmer down. So it is in our relationship with God. He realizes that we are “but dust” and takes our nature into consideration as He goes about the process of molding our character to His image. He has removed our faults and weakness–our sin–as far away from Himself as can possibly be imagined. Now that’s a deal!
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. (Psalm 103:8-10)
Here we clearly see God’s compassion for us once again. It is limitless and unquenchable. And what about this idea of lovingkindness? What does that mean? From the Hebrew, hesed, it is often translated as steadfast love; grace; mercy; faithfulness; goodness; and devotion. It is impossible to translate this concept meaningfully with one English word, since all these attributes come into play.
But does this mean God won’t punish sin? To believe that we would have to ignore everything else in Scripture. No, it simply means that He fully understands us, as we will see in upcoming verses. Free from the Power of sin–The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself brings this hard-to-understand truth–His absolute provision for the weakness of our flesh–sharply into focus.
The Lord performs righteous deeds and Judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. Psalm 103: 6-7.
Feeling a little oppressed today? Not unusual. But what a promise from God in v.6! If you are his child, He is always there reaching out to you, crowning you with lovingkindness and compassion (v.4). Yet there is even a bigger question: will you merely experience His acts or come to know His ways? Be that one to whom God can reveal His wisdom. Diligently pursue God and you will find Him doing just that!
Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Ps.103: 3-5.
Seriously? I’d call those some major benefits–almost too good to be true! And yet those who make God #1 in their lives experience it. Pursue God and He will bring it all to pass.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits. Psalm103:1-2.
Worship is the act of glorifying God. It is most valuable when it originates from the heart–thus, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” The word itself is rooted in the idea of worthiness: “worth-ship” one might say. Because God is infinitely worthy, our response should just naturally be that of praising and glorifying Him. What are some of those benefits?–next time.
It doesn’t matter so much what I think. What matters is who God is and what is his will. Pursue God and He will reveal himself to you bring you into conformity with his will.