The first, and foremost, benefit of being a Christian is that we belong to Jesus. In Him, we have eternal life, and in this world, we have a peace and joy that is beyond anything the world can offer. In Jesus we have hope, and we have the strength to face whatever comes our way.
To answer this question more specifically, about the many benefits of belonging to Jesus, let’s turn to Psalm 103. This psalm is a psalm of David and he begins by praising the Holy Name of God:
Psa 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
And it continues with an exhortation to remember all the benefits the Lord gives:
Psa 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
So what are these “benefits?” The list is endless. The Lord has given us so much. He pours out blessings every day. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), and with His sufficient grace (2 Cor 12:9) and His power living in us (Col 1:27), we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Psalm 103 goes on to list the many benefits we are to remember:
- He forgives our iniquities (vs 3)
- He heals our diseases (vs 3)
- He redeems our lives from destruction (vs 4)
- He crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies (vs 4)
- He satisfies our mouth with good things (vs 5)
- He renews our youth (vs 5)
- He executes righteousness and judgment for the oppressed (vs 6)
- He makes known His ways (vs 7)
- He is merciful, gracious, and slow to anger (vs 8)
- He is forgiving and forgetting of our sins (vs 9, 12)
Verse 12 is of Psalm 103 is one of the most precious verses in all the Bible:
Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
How far is the east from the west?
It is never-ending. Consider this: If God had said, as far as the north is from the south, then we could measure that distance. Both the north and the south have a demarcation point, a pole, and the distance can be measured. Starting at the south pole and moving north, one can go no further north than the north pole. Having reached the north pole one would begin a southward journey. However, with no east or west demarcation point, if one starts in the east and moves westward, their journey will be without end.
That’s how far from us our sins have been removed. That’s how full our forgiveness is. Jesus has forgiven us, totally and without end.
The band Casting Crowns summed this up beautifully in their song East to West:
In the arms of Your mercy, I find rest
’cause You know just how far
the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
Receiving the Benefis
When we truly understand and believe that our sins are forgiven, “as far as the east is from the west,” we find rest. When we “forget not” that we have been washed clean in the blood of Jesus (one scarred hand to the other), we are able to fully receive all the benefits the Lord has given.
A well-known Christian psychologist once said that he would have no patients if he could only convince them that they are truly forgiven.
God tells us that we:
- have been washed clean by the blood (Rev 1:5)
- are clothed in the righteousness of Christ ( 2 Cor 5:20)
- are sealed (Eph 4:30) by the indwelling Holy Spirit
- are taught and directed (John 14:26, John 16:13) by the Holy Spirit’s power
- are promised eternal glory (John 10:28, John 17:22)
As Casting Crowns so beautifully sings in another song, “choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.” That Voice is Jesus who has promised He will never leave or forsake us. And has promised that we are truly forgiven and forever His. Live in the victory of His life, death, burial, and resurrection. He lived the life we cannot live and He died the death that we should die….all so that we can receive His benefits.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits! Psa 103:2
Tell someone about how their sins can be forgiven as far as the east is from the west, and how they can trust in the Voice of Truth.
Do not be anxious about anything. (Phil 4:6)
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control. Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19. As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.”
Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it: Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live: Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.
God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble. When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19
Be Ready Always...
to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15). When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.
When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.
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