“I love the Lord, for he heard my cry. He heard my call for mercy. I love the Lord, for He’s been so good to me, I will honor Him as long as I live.” Psalm 116

It was an experience like I had never known. There I was, surrounded by twenty-thousand men all with lifted hands, praising God and singing songs of worship to Him. The 1990’s Promise Keepers movement was real, and it swept across the country, bringing men together from across denominational lines for a life-changing weekend of worship, teaching and fellowship.

Many of us, having never really experienced worship before, were blown away by the power of God we experienced in these events. Where I came from, the lifting of one’s hands in worship was a rarity and only reserved for the ones that were a little “on the edge.”  But here we stood, with hands raised high, singing the songs of the redeemed. These Promise Keepers worship songs would not just get in your head, but they had a way of getting way down in your spirit, and I would find myself singing them over and over to myself long after one of these events.

One such song was taken from Psalm 116 with words that say, “I love the Lord, for he heard my cry. He heard my call for mercy. I love the Lord, for He’s been so good to me, I will honor Him as long as I live.” Songs like these and the messages behind them is what sets them apart. These lyrics point to an understanding that, because of our sin and transgression, we deserve nothing but God’s wrath and judgement. Yet, God, our Heavenly Father who is rich in mercy, has offered us hope, salvation, and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, His Son.

This is the difference that Jude describes when he talks about the ones who claim to be of Christ yet believe they can live a life of sin and think it’s completely OK and acceptable to God. Jude warns of this mentality that had crept its way into the early church, and still today finds itself alive and well in the minds of some. What Jude describes as “false teachers” with their “false teaching,” must be avoided and all costs. We must never become friendly with sin, but always be mindful that sin brings separation and destruction. The answer of grace isn’t that sin is OK and acceptable, but that we who are sinners have found mercy from God through Jesus and have been redeemed in spite of our many sins. In this lies the mystery of God’s grace and mercy, that, though He hates sin, He loves the sinner.  In verse 24, Jude states that God is able and willing to “keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.”

Today, may we let the songs of the redeemed be forever on our lips.

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