I just love reading God's word - I cannot go a day without it!
As I opened my Bible today, I decided to read Psalm 103. There is so much in this Psalm; I will only point out a few things that made me praise the Lord for His mercy. The Psalm 103:1 starts off with pure praise! It says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” Do you see what David is saying? He is praising God with everything that he is! He is pouring himself out in praise to God!
How often do we sit or stand in our churches to sing praises to The Lord, but we do it in a half-hearted way? When we stop and think about it, we are told to worship God in spirit and in truth. John 4:24 says, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." We must pour out our hearts in thanksgiving to God- not just sing silly, repetitive songs. We must actually think about what we are singing- not just go with the crowd.
In Psalm 103:2, David is still singing praises, saying, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits." He then starts moving through the benefits in the following verses. Psalm 103:3 starts to give a glimpse of the gospel (which literally means good news) when David said, "(God) forgives all your iniquity.” The word iniquity means sin and/or transgressions. That's what sin is - a transgression (breaking) of God's law. We see His law laid out for us in Exodus 20:1-21. You also see them intensely reinforced in the New Testament. Jesus repeats them in such a way to show that the intention of each of our hearts is what matters to God. Let’s take a look at just one example:
Psalm 103:2 also shows people that they couldn't do it (gain eternal life) on their own and that they needed a savior. Jesus is the Savior who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).
Now look at Psalm 103:8-10. "The LORD is merciful and gracious; slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities." You see that it states that God is merciful, and that, in being merciful, He doesn't give us what we deserve for sinning. We deserve His wrath and an eternity in hell. He is gracious in the fact that He chooses to offer us salvation and the ability to be made right with Him. Let me remind you that, if you are not a Christian, then you are an enemy of God (Romans 5:10).
He shows us His steadfast love as it says in Romans 5:8 "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." As we see in Romans 9-10, we will be punished or corrected by God, but it is not a continual thing. God does not give us what we deserve. He instead offers us a way to be made right with Him in and through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The way to access this grace is clearly laid out for us by Jesus himself in Mark 1:15 when He said "Repent and believe the Gospel". Simply put, repent of your sins! This means that you will have a change of mind about your sin and you see it for what it really is- evil and vile in the sight of God. Sin is an eternal offense to a Holy and Righteous God who will not tolerate it. It also means that you must turn away from sin in all of its forms and turn to God. You see that God will give you a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). You start hating the things you once loved (sin) and start loving the things you once hated- God and everything about Him.
Believing the Gospel means that you believe and trust in Jesus’s atoning sacrifice alone for your salvation. It is not through any works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus is the only way to be saved (John 14:6). God poured out the wrath on Him that we deserve (Isaiah 53:5). He paid the debt that we owe. He was the perfect (sinless) sacrifice that was sufficient for the atonement for our sins. He was the propitiation for our sins (1John 2:2).
"For he says, 'In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2)
If you have not begged God to grant you repentance, then I would beg and plead with you to do so today! We are not guaranteed tomorrow!