The buzzword that defines rioters and boycotters around the globe today, it seems, is the word “benefits.”
“But don’t have me do anything in return,” they say (in so many words).
However, there is a price for everything—there’s “no free lunch,” another quote often heard. And God says salvation is a free gift, but one must believe, repent and turn from sin to enjoy the salvation He promises.
The familiar John 3:16, saying, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life is monumental a benefit. Not perishing for eternity is a major benefit, wouldn’t you agree?
If you frequently peruse the Scriptures, have you noticed how often the Word mentions honoring the Lord in some manner? It often adds a blessing or benefit to that act of uplifting Him─by putting Him first in our lives. Even that statement that has such a definite dividing line declaring a benefit that cannot be denied:
“God is not willing that any should perish (benefit), but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9) by putting Him first.
The Bible actually talks about “benefits” in a direct way. Here are the verses that spell out certain benefits that are pertinent to life, spiritual and physical:
Psalm 68.19: “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah.”
Psalm 103:1-6 lists the benefits but first uplifting and honoring the Lord:
“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: 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 isrenewed like the eagle’s. The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.”
Then the Psalmist adds our “should do” response in Psalm 116:12-14:
“What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people.”
This is the great hope of the Lord God, that mankind would respond to His free gifts by recognizing their source, embracing His salvation, calling upon Him continually, and walking with Him in repentance and obedience.
Man walked with God in the Garden, but then man went his own way, which leads to destruction. Man conveniently forgets that God is the source of everything.
“A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven” (John 3:27).
And so, it seems that God cannot keep from bubbling over with His “benefits” for His redeemed ones! Because God is totally holy and righteous, He cannot fellowship with or (allow) in His presence an unredeemed person. Only those who come to Him through Jesus are allowed that personal privilege. Think of it like the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar’s, in Daniel 3. It could represent the fiery presence of God in His holiness described in Hebrews 12:29:
“For our God is a consuming fire!”
The king heated the furnace seven times hotter than ever before, yet when he had the three Hebrew men thrown into the blaze and then looked in, he was surprised to see them walking around, untouched by the heat! Why? He also saw a fourth man with them, who looked like the Son of Man! Only when Jesus is with us in the Presence of God, the Father, will we not be consumed by His holy Presence.
The doctrine that claims God created us, then left us to fend for ourselves, has absolutely no basis in Scripture! All of His promises to believers in Christ are given for the purpose that we might glorify Him by acting upon those promises. Look at 2 Corinthians 1:20:
“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”
[Jesus said,]“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Seeking the Lord is listed prior to the verse as, food, drink, clothing, etc. It
is important, however, that this context is prefaced with the observation that “no man can serve two masters!”
So to a world that wants benefits: Come to God through Jesus and find temporal plus eternal benefits, for He has said:
“He who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, give us all things!” (Romans 8:32)
So will you submit willingly to His Lordship to receive those benefits? He does not forsake His own!