You’re probably familiar with the process of annual benefits enrollment. Many different types of organizations offer their members benefits. To borrow an American Express slogan, “Membership has its privileges.” Well, membership in God’s Church and being part of God’s family come with a benefits plan too!
Jesus told us that we need to endure to the end, despite the challenging times ahead. We need to stay motived in order to accomplish this. Even Jesus needed to stay focused on the ultimate goal in order to endure (Hebrews 12:1-2), and if He did, we certainly do too! We need to review the benefits God is offering us from time to time, lest we forget and get discouraged. So, let’s keep our benefits binder and guide book—the Bible—open as we learn more about what God is offering each of us. Some of the main benefits in God’s plan are listed in Psalm 103. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (verse 2, emphasis mine throughout).
Benefit #1—God’s Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Wellness Program
The first benefit to consider is what one might call God’s mental, emotional and spiritual wellness program, also known to us as the conversion/salvation process. We can learn more in Psalm 103: “He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (verses 9-12). “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them” (verses 17-18).
God has a plan to free us from sin, guilt and shame—to save and reconcile us. According to the Bible, our sins are like debts and God offers to wipe them out completely for us. The Bible also pictures sin as a type of slavery. But God mercifully grants us freedom! (Romans 6:16-23).
After baptism, and through the laying on of hands and the receiving of God’s Spirit, we are given additional help in achieving mental, emotional and spiritual health. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
And as an additional perk of this wellness program, God also grants us unlimited free consultations through prayer, available 24/7. But though it is free to us, it wasn’t really free. It was paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ through His sacrifice for us. So, let’s gratefully make use of the precious gift of prayer.
Benefit #2—Health Assurance
Psalm 103:3 tells us that God is the one “who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” God offers us not health insurance, but health assurance. God assures us that we will, in the future, have excellent health.
God’s Word provides principles of good health that we can apply in our current lifetimes and instructions about what we should do when we are sick, such as in James 5:14. We can count on God’s promise to heal us. The timing, of course, is in His hands, as He determines when healing will be best for us. But one thing is for sure, if we are not healed in this lifetime, we will be healed in the future, at the resurrection.
Though most companies offer a health care plan, most plans require that you pay into the plan and your employer also pays part (which, granted, is generous of them). But when you go to the doctor or get medical treatment you have to pay amounts up to your deductible, or under other plans, you make co-payments. Either way, it usually is not entirely free and the medical care you get is uncertain, at best. But under God’s plan you don’t have to pay any medical bills. You won’t need any medical care, as you will be given a perfectly healthy new body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
No more physical pain. Won’t that be wonderful? No more devastating sickness or disease. No more debilitating injuries. And ultimately, as we are told in Revelation 21:4, there will be no more death, sorrow or pain for anyone, for God will cause the former things to pass away and make all things new.
Benefit # 3—Life Assurance
A third benefit is not life insurance, but life assurance. If you have life insurance, when you die, your relatives or beneficiaries will receive a death benefit, a lump sum or an annuity to help them cope with a loss of income from you—possibly the bread winner in the family. That’s great for them, but it doesn’t do much for you, the insured, does it? Under God’s benefits plan things are much different. Referring back to Psalms 103:4 we read that God “redeems your life from destruction.”
Yes, God redeems—buys back—our life from destruction, from death. He protects us from many disasters in this life, but especially and most importantly, He spares us from the second death by granting us eternal life. That’s a huge benefit. We see in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Eternal life is a free gift of God, not something we have earned. We definitely don’t want to accept what we can earn on our own from our sinful works of the flesh. As we are told in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Therefore, we should accept God’s free gift—eternal life—and not demand our wages, which is death.
Benefit #4—A Guaranteed Job You Will Love
It’s popular to believe that when you die you go off to heaven and there you will just float around on clouds all day, maybe strum a few tunes on your golden harp or maybe play checkers with one of the angels. How different that is from the benefit described in God’s plan! Psalm 103:4 describes God as one “who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”
Yes, we are to be crowned, but what exactly does that mean? When monarchs are crowned, they take on rulership, responsibility and authority. In a very literal sense, a similar benefit will be bestowed on us in the future, as Jesus intends to have us reign with Him. We will be Kings and Priests in Christ’s government and we will reign on this earth (Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 3:21, Matthew 25:21).
But there’s also another aspect of having a crown that we should consider—we must meet all the conditions and requirements. Before the recent British coronation, King Charles had to meet the qualifications to become the King of England. We need to meet the qualifications too—which includes our heartfelt devotion and allegiance to our Lord and Savior and being like Him in integrity and character (Ephesians 4:13).
Paul wrote, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Serving with Jesus will not be boring, monotonous work—we will be happy, active and busy. We will be helping others, serving God, learning new things, solving problems, helping the needy, restoring justice, eradicating poverty, ending sickness, countering ignorance, stopping war, resolving conflicts and reuniting families. Exciting work lies ahead for each of us.
Benefit # 5—Family Support
God’s family support means that all our needs are taken care of. It is God “who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5). We may not always have everything we want, because what we want isn’t always good for us. But God promises to supply our every need (Philippians 4:19) when we first seek His Kingdom (Matthew 6:31-33).
Peter once asked Jesus about His benefits plan. “So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life’” (Mark 10:29-30).
Yes, many have had to leave family, friends or relationships to be a part of the Church and to follow God’s Way, but they have received 100 times more family and friends in quantity or quality in God’s Church and fellowship than they had previously.
Benefit #6—Free Legal Services
Again, it is not really free, but it is free to us. Yes, God has a legal defense and assistance benefit included in His plan. Psalm 103:6 says that “The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.” Yes, God is looking out for us in every possible way. He will right any wrongs and free us from oppression.
It’s very painful, sad and frustrating seeing or hearing of all the crime and injustice that takes place in this world. And it must be especially discouraging for people in the world who don’t believe in God and feel criminals have gotten away with their evil deeds. Not so! God will bring about justice. The wicked will not get away with anything. We must not let injustices in this life discourage us.
Galatians 6:9 tells us “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” God “will render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6). There will be justice in the end!
Benefit #7—Getting to Truly Know God and Be Part of His Family
The final benefit I’ll mention is getting to truly know God and be part of His family. This means developing close, loving relationships with God the Father and Jesus Christ and with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. That begins when we learn more about God. But He helps us by revealing Himself to His people, just as “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel” (Psalm 103:7; see also Galatians 6:16). What a blessing that is! God promises that if we make that effort to draw near to Him with a true heart, He will draw near to us (Hebrews 10:22; James 4:8).
I like how Jesus summed it all up in John 17:3 in His prayer to the Father, when He said “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” In other words, the most critical and important thing in life is getting to know God the Father and Jesus, and allowing Them to get to know us.
God desires a close, loving family relationship with each of us (John 1:12). Can you imagine what it will be like to be with God the Father, Jesus Christ and our brothers and sisters in Christ for all eternity? What a blessing and benefit to work under God the Father and Jesus Christ and be around converted people who want to love and serve God!
God told Abraham, “I am your . . . great reward” (Genesis 15:1). In the ultimate sense, God the Father and Jesus Christ are our rewards. So, this last benefit is getting to know God and having the opportunity to develop a loving and close relationship with Him and His family that will last for all eternity.
Choosing God’s Benefits Plan
God’s benefits plan offers more than any other package. Psalm 68:19 states, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits.”
God protects us, delivers us from danger, provides for our physical needs, helps us to be successful in life and gives us strength, peace and stability. Though He allows us to go through trials, He is always looking out for our long-term best interests and won’t allow anything to permanently harm us (Romans 8:28).
Christ’s words are recorded in Revelation 22:12, reminding us, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” God will not forget our labors of love and even our little acts of kindness will be remembered and rewarded (Hebrews 6:10, Matthew 10:42). There are many benefits yet to come in God’s Plan that we don’t even know about yet (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).
Let’s appreciate the wonderful benefits plan God is offering us. “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!” (Psalm 103:1-2).