Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. (Psalm 103:1-2)
We are to adore and love the Lord for all His benefits. This includes not only the forgiveness of sins, but also the lifting of shame. God bends down to love lowly and unclean people and He raises us from our slime and crud to give us new lives. some people die of shame because of their failures. But God can lift us, cleanse us, and clothe us in His love in this life and in the world to come.1
Scripture says: “The one who trusts in Christ will never be put to shame….I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame. I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame.”2 The Lord assures of His love and our security in Him. Jesus’ ministry of mercy, when He was here on Earth, inaugurated and demonstrated the Kingdom of God. The Lord is in the process of making everything come out right and He puts victims back on their feet.3
Focus on Our Blessings in Jesus Helps Us to Trust Him
Last time we looked at some benefits Christians receive which are described in Ephesians chapter 1. We continue that study, using Scriptures and quotations. If you are Jesus’ followers, use these realities as reasons to praise God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and help others to praise Him when they are discouraged and their faith is weak.
This post builds upon Every Christian’s Benefit Package (Part 1)
We Praise God Because We Are Chosen by God’s Everlasting Love (Ephesians 1:4)
The Lord is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and He delights to show mercy.4 C. S. Lewis says: God loves us, not because we are love-able but because He is love. Not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give. Our feelings for God come and go, up and down, hot and cold, but His love for us never wavers. He is not wearied by our sins or our indifference. And He is relentless in His determination that we shall be cured of our sins, at whatever cost to us and to Him. God does not love us because we are valuable, but we are valuable because God loves us. C. H. Spurgeon says: Nothing binds me to my Lord like a strong belief in His changeless love. His love for us is unvarying, but there may be changes in His ways of showing it.
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:9-11)
I never tire of hearing these truths and hope you feel the same. we must be rooted and grounded in Christ’s saving love for us, or we will be overwhelmed by the troubles of the world.
Prayer: Lord, send us such a floodtide of your love that we are washed thoroughly from the mud of doubt and fear and shame. Help us and all your people to grasp how wide, long, high, and deep your love for us is. Convince our minds and hearts of this reality in fresh ways today. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.5
We Praise God Because We Are Adopted as His Sons and Daughters. (Ephesians 1:5)
Earthly parents sometimes adopt needy and underprivileged children to give them whole new lives. So the Lord lovingly chooses to save us and then adopt us. That’s another step beyond forgiveness. In adoption, God transfers us from an alien family into His own family, with Christ as our Elder Brother. This is the highest privilege the Lord can give. Now we can now taste and see God’s great goodness, mercy, and love more than ever, from inside the family. We may struggle on earth, but we will never be orphaned, abandoned, or forsaken. We are eternally secure in Jesus. The Lord adopts us and then makes us more and more like Him in our character and conduct, our attitudes and actions.6
An Unlikely Adoption
Cheyenne was homeless at age 16, and the child welfare agency told her that finding a foster home would be unlikely. In Ontario, Canada, a thousand teenagers age out of the foster care system every year without being placed in a family. But four years later, Cheyenne was adopted by Shannon Culkeen, who’d been serving as her mentor. Shannon said: “It was like proposing, but for parenthood.” Her motivation was simple: “It’s never too late to make a family.” For Cheyenne, “It was ‘yes’ right off the bat.” She had taken comfort from Shannon’s consistent, loving, sacrificial, and empowering presence. For Cheyenne, it’s a comfort to know their relationship isn’t contingent on a bad day or a bad mood. It’s based on long-term commitment, a covenant.7
Cheyenne’s adoption was wonderful, but our adoption in Christ is better! Scripture says that God the Father marked us out for adoption before the creation of the world. And God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lovingly planned to save us through Jesus’ sacrifice and followed through on that plan. God brought us into His family and made us heirs along with Christ. Under Roman Law (when the New Testament was written) adopted children had the exact same rights as biological children, even if they were previously slaves.
What good news, beloved. We were lost, homeless, and hopeless. But God the Holy Trinity found us, saved us, and brought us into His forever family of faith, hope, and love.
Prayer: Father, assure us and all your followers of our glorious adoption in Christ. Help us to rejoice in and never forget the privilege we have of calling on you in prayer anytime, anywhere. Make our lives like bright lights, shining for you and seen by others, so that they may see our good deeds and glorify you, our Father in heaven.8
To be continued.
Notes (various translations): 1 Adapted from Melvin D. Hugen and Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. 2 1 Pet 2:6; Zeph 3:19. 3 Psalm 103:6. 4 Exodus 34:6; Micah 7:18. 5 Prayer adapted and expanded from C. H Spurgeon and Eph 3:14-19. 6 Rom 6:1-14; 8:1-4, 28-30; 2 Cor 5:17. 7 CBC (Canada) Radio, Nov. 18, 2020. 8 Prayer expands on Matt 5:16.