When you think of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, what comes to your mind? This is a question that I asked to a group of believers, and most of them had the same couple of answers:
– Forgiveness of sins
– The pain and suffering of the torture
There’s nothing too surprising with these responses. In-fact these are all that is typically mentioned on Sunday’s in most sermons. Many people see the sacrifice of Christ as little more than spiritual fire-insurance. You get a ticket on the Heaven-bus when it arrives.
The sacrifice of Christ becomes something that merely gets mentioned at the end of sermons in order to attracted new converts to the membership of the church, but otherwise it is ignored.
However I’m here today my friend to tell you that the sacrifice of Jesus is much more than simply fire insurance – it is much more than a tool to gain new converts – it is in-fact everything that you need. And it is more than enough to solve every problem.
As we look at this today, the fundamental point is that there are benefits to the relationship of Christ. There are benefits to being a member of His kingdom and His family. There are benefits to Having His Spirit indwelling you, and being in complete union with Him. And these benefits are not merely relegated off to the “sweet by-and-by” as some like to say, but they are here and present for this life right now… where they are most needed, and most useful. This is why David writes the following in Psalm 103:2:
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:”
David writes here that His soul (his mind and his emotions) should “bless” the LORD. His thoughts and his emotions should always speak well of God – but David doesn’t just leave it there… he doesn’t just say to bless the LORD for no reason, he says to bless the LORD and do not forget all of His benefits!
This tells us that there are indeed benefits to be had, things that our heavenly Father wants us to know and receive, and that we should not forget them. Though sadly, many of us have forgotten them, and some of us have never been told that these benefits exist in the first place!
This is important for us to know, because ignorance of these benefits is what causes so many people to downplay the finished work of Christ in this life, and simply treat it as that “fire insurance” that I mentioned earlier – but as we will see here His benefits go far beyond that.
What follows in verses 3 through 21, is a list of just some of the benefits of the LORD that we are to hold on to and not forget. Let’s take a look at some of those now, starting with verses 3 through 6:
“Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”
The very first thing for us to notice is that the LORD forgives all your iniquities. The irony here is that some Christians don’t even fully believe this very first item in the list! There are many who believe that the LORD forgave all of your sins in the past, but any fresh ones that you may commit, are fresh stains that are not forgiven, at least not until some kind of penance is performed – such as certain kind of works, or additional confession.
Yet from what we can see here, no such thing is actually mentioned; just a simple statement of fact that the LORD forgives all your iniquities. And what comes next is something even more people have difficulty believing: that the LORD also heals all of your diseases.
This is not listed here by accident, my friend; this is one of the many benefits of of the LORD. He heals all – not some – but all of your diseases. Don’t be ashamed to believe plainly what the scriptures say.
The next thing we see here is that the LORD redeems your life from destruction. This is salvation from hell, and indeed this is the most important benefit that we could ever receive from the Lord. No doubt about that.
However, please take notice that the list does not stop here. In-fact the list continues on through the rest of the chapter – yet for some reason, this item is where a vast majority of Christians stop! We have forgotten all of His other benefits! When Jesus redeemed you, when He bought you back from the slave-market of sin and death, He did so completely!
When He delivered you from the pit and from destruction, He did so completely! He is not withholding any good thing from you; if He were to withhold any good thing from you, then it would be saying that whatever the thing is, it is more valuable than Jesus! That is precisely why Romans 8:32 says what it says, that He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him, also freely give us all things?
In Christ Jesus today, you have all things freely given to you because of Jesus. He paid for it, you receive it as a gift. God is not withholding anything from you!
This is also why the second-half of verse 4 tells us that He crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies.
Now this crown is not the type of crown that you wear on your head. It is עטר in Hebrew, which means to encompass around or to encircle. The loving-kindness, the Grace the tender-mercies of God totally surround you! Wherever you go, all-the-time day or night, regardless of circumstances, you are totally wrapped-up in the tender-mercies of God. His Grace, His unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor is always upon you completely covering you!
We can then see in verse 5 that the LORD satisfies your mouth with good.
One thing to note here is that the word “things” is not in the Greek text… it simply says that the LORD satisfies you with good. So this is all-around, all-encompassing good – not merely just possessions, because possessions alone does not make a truly happy person.
Also the word translated as “mouth” in your English Bible is עדי in Hebrew, which means desires. It is the LORD who satisfies your desires, and He does so with good. This truth often annoys some people because they cannot picture a God that satisfies desires, but when the Holy Spirit describes God in this way, we should listen, because this is another benefit of God which we should not forget. This is a plain and simple picture of God’s generous provision; not just of our bare essential needs, but of our wants and desires also.
Again, all of these things are listed as benefits of the LORD.
Are you beginning to see how complete the sacrifice of Christ really is? Far beyond the typical religious idea of “just going to heaven when you die”.
The second-half of verse 5 continues that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. This should not be nearly as surprising and unbelievable as it is to most people. Sadly most people have come to accept aging and advancing weakness and infirmities as “a natural part of life”, and they completely fail to recognize the miracle-working power of God in that equation.
We see here though that another benefit of the LORD is having your youth renewed.
Now the world eagle there, is the Hebrew נשר which is actually a vulture (עיט is an eagle), but the point being made in the verse is not that youth is renewed as the eagle or vulture, but that it is renewed like the eagle or vulture. In other words, that you have will have the youthful strength and vigor like the high-flying keen-sighted creature. Just as it was said of Moses in Deuteronomy 34:7.
Again this should not be so surprising or unbelievable to us, who claim to have a personal union with the God of the universe – but we have become so ingrained with worldly ideas, we have forgotten the spiritual realities of who we are in Christ and what we actually have in His New Covenant.
Can you actually have continual youth and strength? Yes! It happened with Caleb in Joshua 14:11.
Can you have your infirmities removed? Yes! It happened to the Israelite during the Exodus as recorded in Psalm 105:37.
Now, If Moses, and Caleb and the Israelites were blessed with vigor and strength under the Old Covenant, we should do at least that good under the New Covenant with better promises in Christ Jesus! (Hebrews 8:6)
How does this happen? Go back to the first part of verse 5: the LORD satisfies your desires with good. Now there is one specific good that He satisfies your desires with… the ultimate good is Himself! And I invite you to take a moment and meditate on this truth, because it will help to bring everything in to focus more clearly.
In Psalm 100:1 we can read that The LORD is good. And for the doubters, in Psalm 34:8 it says to taste and see, that the LORD is good.
The principle is that when we are receiving from Him, it has a wonderful effect on every area of our live, spirit, soul and body; Solomon said that the words of God are life and health to all of your flesh. (Proverbs 4:22), and Jesus said that He has come to give you life, and life more abundantly (John 10:10)
Now you may be thinking, “If all of this is true, where are all of my provisions?”, and I just answered that question: they are all benefits of the LORD, they are all contained within Jesus Christ and His New Covenant of Grace, founded on His Finished work on the cross.
Take a look at verse 6 of our text:
The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
The main thing to remember here is that the word “judgment” is actually the Hebrew word for justice
God is promising righteousness and justice to all who are oppressed. A promise which as every other, has been wholly fulfilled by Jesus Christ and His finished work.
All who were oppressed by the enemy, by Satan, and in the jail-cell of sin, have been righteously pardoned.
We see a wonderful picture of this in Acts 10:38:
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
If I can speak plainly here… our problem many times is not that God isn’t providing (we often behave as though we need to “get His attention” or “get Him to move”);
But in reality, our problem is that we are not receiving what He has already provided – because truthfully He provided everything over 2,000 years ago on the cross! We are trying to get God to move, when He already moved long ago – and already won the victory and completed the work. His sacrifice is more than enough! There are a great number of believers struggling, sweating, striving and sacrificing to try to attain what God has already given as a free gift in Christ Jesus!
We are behaving with an Old Covenant mindset, when we aren’t living in that Covenant any longer! And that is the part that is broken! This is why the warning in Romans 4:14 exists:
“For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.”
Many people are trying to inherit the promises of the New Covenant, while still clinging to Old Covenant principles, and a performance mindset, and it kills faith, and makes the promise of no effect.
There is a very real, and deadly danger to trying to mix the old covenant with the new covenant – to try and Mix a little bit of Moses with Jesus. that’s why Jesus warns so strongly about it in Matthew 9:16-17. He says if you try to mix them both will be lost! Trying to mix the Old Covenant with the New, results in the complete nullification of both.
I encourage you today my friend, the sacrifice of Jesus was compete all on its’ own. His provision is sufficient – more than enough.
You don’t need to add any thing to it. Simply receive, and be blessed.