As believers in Jesus Christ, we receive many blessings. I love what Psalm 103:2-3 says in this regard:
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases…
The greatest miracle for any of us is the forgiveness of sins, that we might be cleansed so as to come into the presence of the Lord. Life in this world is hard because of sin. It has caused great harm to all mankind (and even to the earth) since that fateful day in the Garden. Sin has led to disease and affliction of every kind, crippling our bodies, and as a result, causing many to believe that God doesn’t exist or care. But He promises to not only remove the yoke of our transgressions, He also gives His Word that He will heal all our diseases.
But, someone might say, He doesn’t. Look at the many believers who have been sick in body or soul and died that way. Since that’s the case, He’s obviously not trustworthy to keep His promises.
They forget one thing. The statement above doesn’t say when God will provide this healing. It actually has a two-fold fulfillment. Forgiveness of all our sins must occur before death in order for us to be made righteous before God. However, He may choose to heal us of our diseases in this body in this life, or He may bring about this complete healing in the next. If that’s the case, our time on the earth may never see the physical healing we desire, but how much sweeter will it be to be more whole than we can imagine once the Rapture occurs and we’ve been given our glorified bodies?
The qualities God gives those who trust in Christ are so numerous, we often neglect to give Him thanks for them. We’re all generally familiar with the fruit of the Spirit as Paul outlines in Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
A list of benefits we tend to forget is those that the apostle stated in 2 Peter 1:5-7:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Let’s examine them briefly with definitions from the Strong’s Concordance, because it’s a worthy progression to consider in our lives as believers.
- This is trust and fidelity, a moral conviction of the truthfulness of God
- This is a moral goodness or uprightness
- This is doctrine or wisdom
- This is mastery or self-restraint
- This is a patient, even cheerful, enduring as one waits
- This is devotion, holiness, and piety toward God
- Brotherly affection
- This is philadelphia love, fraternal in nature, for our Christian brethren
- This is agapé love, affection, or benevolence, even a love-feast
Putting this together, here’s what we get: Our moral conviction of the truthfulness of God leads to our walking in upright goodness and excellence. When we do this, God pours out His wisdom and gives us knowledge that we might not otherwise have. As we move about in this life through reading God’s Word and absorbing what He gives us in understanding, we grow in self-restraint. As we master ourselves, there is less of us to master, as there is more of Him in us. This enables us to have patience as we wait for Him to redeem us completely from this earth. We can be of good cheer knowing that there is more than what we experience here on earth. Our minds and hearts point more toward the Lord and our devotion for Him increases. From the holiness that blossoms within us, we get out of ourselves and see how much God loves each and every one of us. Knowing and experiencing this, we reach out to others who are of like mind, believers in Jesus Christ, and embrace those in the church, the Body of Christ. But it doesn’t stop there. God so loved the world… Through our growth and maturity He enables us to do likewise, even to the loving of our enemies.
Wow. As 2 Peter 1:8 summarizes:
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have every means available to us to be effective and fruitful in our Christian walk. That’s such an encouragement. However, it appears that Peter is also giving a warning that the next verses in 2 Peter 1:9-10 show us:
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
There are those who neglect to nurture this great salvation that God has given us. By failing to walk in the manner He prescribes for righteousness and holiness, the flip side to gaining all these benefits is that a person will stumble and be unfruitful. Such a person will fail to represent God well and will lead a barren life that brings no profit to God or himself.
But Peter says that our reward is rich and well-deserved when we truly do all that God desires for us, and we walk through the doors of opportunity that He opens. Indeed, let us be diligent in all we do that Christ alone gets all the glory and we are blessed in return.