- Bless the LORD, O My Soul: and All that is within Me, Bless His Holy Name – Psalm 103 says repeatedly in many different ways that God is merciful. He is a God who forgives sins. He is a God who does bestow grace. He is a God who actually does save sinners, sinners who do not deserve it, sinners who could never earn it, to bring salvation to themselves. God in His mercy and grace blesses them with salvation. And God requires everything from us, we are to love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul (Mark 12:29–30). We sometimes do this only halfheartedly. We might even just do God lip service. We might be saying, “Praise the Lord” and “Thank God,” when there are still areas in our life where we are not truly praising the Lord. These two principles of loving God with our entire being and inheriting eternal life are actually very closely related. In fact, we can’t have one without the other. So God commands, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16) and He speaks this to every individual. God’s Name is Holy: “For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name” (Luke 1:49). His very person is Holy. Everything involved with God is absolutely Holy. God is righteous. God is without sin. He is spotless. He is the essence of holiness Himself. We call this Book, the Bible, the Holy Bible because it comes forth from the mouth of God. Since He is Holy, His Word is Holy: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom 7:12). This name alone itself tells us that there is no error in the Bible and can not be any error. The moment that sin or an error or a mistake enters into something, it ceases to be Holy. This is what happened with mankind. When we sinned, we were no longer holy. We became unholy, unclean, spiritually filthy. We became like a leper in God’s sight. Yet Holy God has sent forth His Holy Word, Word in flesh, Lord Jesus Christ to redeem certain individuals to Himself, to gather an elect people whom He will make Holy. We must never lose sight of the astounding fact that the Holy Messiah had to become their very opposite – unholy, impure, and sinful – in order to redeem each believer from sin and its punishment of everlasting Hell (2 Cor 5:21). Here we see the greatest exchange that has ever taken place in this universe. Here we see righteous God, Who is holy, pure, and sinless become unholy, impure, and sinful. Simultaneously, we see unrighteous unsaved man, who by nature is unholy, impure, and sinful become holy, pure, and sinless by the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ that is given, or imputed, to him. He will purge them from their sins and from all of their evil deeds and from everything else. He will wash them and make them clean, and they will become Holy (Eph 5:25–27). You cannot be holy when you are committing sin. You might be holy in your heart, if God has saved you, but where is the evidence of this holiness? There should be a desire to do His will, to keep His commandments more and more in our life. God’s “saints” (true believers) shall praise and bless the Lord for His grace, love, and mercy upon them and shall tell others about His glorious salvation, as Psa 145:10–12 declares: “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.”
Mat 22:37–40 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Eph 5:25–27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Eze 36:25–27 “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
- Bless The LORD, O My Soul, And Forget NOT All His Benefits – We have to remember what He has done. We have to be put “in remembrance”. This is because we can be such forgetful people. We can easily forget what God has done for us, what He has worked out in our lives. The idea of teaching the Gospel, of bringing the Word of God, is to put us “in remembrance of these things”. So what has God done that we are not to forget? Well, He has taken our sins and He has paid the penalty for those sins, a payment equal to all those whom He came to save spending an eternity in Hell: “For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”. Right there, is a wonderful starting point for us to begin to bless the Lord, to thank God, to be very grateful for His Gospel, because it is His Gospel that can save people. In Deu 6, God is instructing mothers and fathers to teach God’s commandments diligently to their children, to talk of them “when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up”. Why so often? Why so repetitive? Teach, teach, remind them, remind them lest they forget. This is language that is really speaking of salvation. As we came out of the kingdom of darkness – ruled over by Satan – typified by Egypt, we were in bondage to our sin. So this is what God would not have us forget: “Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deu 6:12). “Forget not” all the blessings. Have you ever heard the song that says, “Count your blessings, one by one, and see what the Lord has done”? This is a very healthy thing for any of us to do, especially if our soul is cast down. Remember all that He has done. Forget not all His benefits. We have life. We have clothing. We have food. We have shelter. And we have much more than that, we have the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel and His promise of eternal life. We have Bibles, abundantly available. We can thank God for all these benefits, all of these blessings, all of these great spiritual riches that He has provided in Christ.
2 Pet 1:11–12 “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.”
Eph 1:3–6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
- Who Forgiveth All Thine Iniquities, Who Healeth All Thy Diseases – This is a wonderful fact that the Bible teaches: God forgives. Only God has the power and ability to forgive sins. Every sin that we have ever done, in thought, word, and deed, all our iniquities can be, potentially, with a snap of a finger, gone, removed, taken away, “cast… into the depths of the sea”, “as far as the east is from the west”, and they can be completely removed from us because Christ made the payment to redeem a people for Himself. He came to save sinners. In doing so, He took upon Himself all the sins of His elect. Psa 130:4 says we have to fear God because He has forgiveness in Him: “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared”. It does not say here that there is tremendous wrath, tremendous anger, or tremendous fury that God be feared, but that there is “forgiveness”. So I go to God – I know that this is where I ought to be going. Yet I am beginning to fear, especially as I am hearing that time is running out and the day of Judgement is right around the corner. It is almost like we are being pushed to the sea like the Israelites in Moses’ day. There they were at the sea and the Egyptians were in hot pursuit. They needed a miracle. The sea had to part, and only God could do that. He alone can open up the sea, as He did historically. He alone can have mercy and save us. But we have to remember that God is saving a “great multitude” of people and that all it takes to qualify is to acknowledge a sinner. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief ” (1 Tim 1:15), as God moved the Apostle Paul to say. Actually, this is a faithful saying, worthy of all receiving for every one of us. God will forgive. He will have mercy and “He delights in mercy” (Mic 7:18). God takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Eze 33:11). He will punish them on the last day. He will cast them into Hell because He is the Just Judge, but He does not delight in doing this in the way that He delights in bestowing grace and mercy. God delights to save a sinner. There is rejoicing in heaven “over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10). In Luke 5:18–24 and in Luke 7:36–50, What do you think? What is easier for Jesus? What is easier to do, to say that his sins be forgiven or to cause this man with a palsy to rise up and walk? Of course, it would be much easier for God to heal this man’s physical body. God has power on earth to do great and mighty and wonderful things. He can heal someone’s physical body, but in order for Jesus to say, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee”, what had to happen? Christ had to take those sins upon Himself and He had to bear them upon the Cross and He had to pay the price for all that man’s sins. He had to endure the equivalent of an eternal damnation with awful, awful wrath being poured upon Him, to the point where He was in an agony and He was shaken: “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt 26:42). We read in the Bible that this was such an awful weight: “Who [Lord Jesus Christ] in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;” (Heb 5:7). So it is much, much, much easier to heal the physical part of man rather than the spiritual need, to say, “Thy sins are forgiven thee”. Christ healed him physically in order for us to know that He can heal spiritually. Jesus healed the blind. He gave hearing to the deaf. He raised the dead. He healed the man with palsy. As Jesus went about healing the sick and the lepers, He was teaching us that He has the ability and the power to forgive sins, that He can bestow grace upon us, that he is compassionate.
Mic 7:18–19 “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”
Luke 5:18–24 “And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: … Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. 21And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”
- Who Redeemeth Thy Life From Destruction – The word “redeemeth” is a word that means that God has “bought”. He has redeemed a people for Himself. He has redeemed the elect. Where has He redeemed us from? Where were we when God found us? We were on the road to destruction. We were under the wrath of God. We were subject to spend an eternity in Hell (Rom 5:9–10). But He has redeemed us by His blood. Lord Jesus is called “the Prince of Peace” because he ended the spiritual war between God and rebellious mankind. Jesus said He came to bring peace between God and His people in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. The peace that results from salvation is called “peace with God” in Rom 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. True believers have peace with God because of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross that has “reconciled” them to God, as explained in 2 Cor 5:19: “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation [the Gospel] …”. When we have become reconciled to God by salvation, God also gives us the “peace of God”. When we have the “peace of God which passeth all understanding”, our souls can rest quietly with God as we trust completely in Him with every aspect of our lives. Christians are not to be anxious or worried about anything. Not only are we not to be worried, we also learn this from Php 4:6, “… by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. Col 4:2 instructs us to, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving …”. Col 2:7 explains, “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving”. The believer’s life is to be a constant overflowing of thanksgiving for all of God’s daily benefits to him, remembering, the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness. No matter how great our need, His inexhaustible grace is ever sufficient, plenteous, and overflowing as a mighty river. It will never run out and will always be there. As the Christian learns to depend and rely more and more on God and to rest in Him alone, he finds the peace that Isa 26:3 speaks about, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee”. He has redeemed our life from going down into the pits of Hell, eternally: “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psa 103:4). As a result, He has given us a crown, and this is why God uses the figure that believers are prophets, priests, and kings (1 Pet 2:9). He places a royal crown, a spiritual crown, upon the head of each one of His people. This points to the truth that we are a royal priesthood. We are spiritual kings. May God give us His peace if we do not know Him today; and if we do, may He give us a greater and abiding trust to rest in His grace, in His strength, and in His power as He graciously works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Rom 5:9–10 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Rev 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”
1 Pet 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”
Php 4:6–7 “Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.