FORGET NOT! Part II

imagesLet us continue to rejoice in the benefits God has so graciously bestowed on us throughout 2014. We’re working through this passage from the Psalms:

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Psalm 103:1-5)

On Monday we rejoiced in the truth that God forgives all our sins. Today let’s look at a second blessing:

He Heals All Your Diseases

Make no mistake; our Great Physician is able to heal every one of our diseases. We read about many such healings throughout the Scriptures. Lepers were cleansed. Blind men were made to see. The lame were made to walk. The dead were raised to life.

But I believe what David had in view when he wrote this psalm was not so much physical diseases as the spiritual disease that afflicts us all. Luke’s gospel provides a wonderful example of this truth:

Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . .” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. (Luke 5:18-25)

Luke recounted the divine healing of the paralyzed man, but there is a deeper message in this story. The most important malady Jesus healed was spiritual. Our Lord’s expression of grace—“Friend, your sins are forgiven”—is the one thing everyone needs to hear!

To be sure, physical healing is a wonderful gift from God, and we praise Him for the many physical healings we ourselves have received and have seen in others. But the disease that we most desperately need to be healed of is the sin nature that separates us from God. Look again at Luke’s account and see how this truth is expressed in the order of what Jesus did. He healed the man spiritually first (“Your sins are forgiven”); then He healed him physically (“Get up and walk”).

It’s important to recognize that even if the physical healing had not come—and it does not always come in this lifetime—the man would have received what He needed most: forgiveness of sin and the end of his alienation from God. As David wrote elsewhere in the Psalms, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him” (Psalm 32:1-2).

Blessed indeed! And if you have not yet received that blessing, I urge you not to wait another moment. You can be united with God for all eternity simply by trusting in the fact that He became a man and died on the cross for your sins. “Confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!    

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