Psalm 116:12-14 How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD . I will fulfil my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Everything we receive from God is a free, no-strings-attached gift of his grace ALONE, and there is nothing we can do to ‘repay’ him for his goodness. As Jesus reminded us in the parable about the hard-working servant in Luke 17:7-10, “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Even the greatest things we might do or achieve for God are only the fulfilment of what is required of us anyway.
So what answer does the psalmist give to his rhetorical question, ‘How can I repay the LORD’?
Three things: “I will lift up the cup of salvation”, “I will call on his name”, and “I will fulfil my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people”. In other words, his response is an OPEN and PUBLIC expression of: 1. his gratitude to God; 2. his dependence on him; and 3. his commitment to a life lived in total obedience to the LORD’s will.
We ‘repay’ grace by acknowledging that it IS grace, not by thinking we could ‘earn’ it or ‘deserve’ it by good works. By ‘lifting up’ the ‘cup of salvation’ we are declaring to the world the basis on which we are recipients of God’s goodness: that Jesus his Son has drunk the cup of the Father’s wrath in our place and has poured into our lives the cup of blessing that flows from HIS righteousness.
Secondly, we ‘repay’ grace by coming regularly before the Lord in prayer, calling on him to to supply all our needs (including our need for forgiveness) instead of being anxious and trying to solve all our problems in our own way and in our own strength. Do we take positive steps to avoid giving the appearance of self-righteousness, making it clear that we only ever see ourselves as sinners saved by grace?
And thirdly, by OBEDIENCE we show the watching world that Jesus is not just our Saviour but our LORD! The Apostle James reminds us of the importance of this when he says, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds [as if they are two DIFFERENT ways of expressing our salvation!]’ Show me your faith WITHOUT deeds, and I will show you my faith BY what I do.” (James 2:18).
Are these THREE aspects of our response to God’s grace in our own lives, evident to all who know us?