Isaiah 61:1 ESV (cf. Lu. 4:18-19)
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
In Luke 4, Jesus is quoted as saying this (above) about himself. And, then he said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
After Jesus died and was resurrected from the dead, before he ascended back to heaven, one day he appeared to his disciples and he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (Jn. 20:21).
So, we see even in the Old Testament it is proclaimed about Jesus Christ that he would be the Anointed of God who would deliver us out of our bondage (slavery, addiction) to sin. He was sent to heal our hearts, which were broken by sin. He was sent to free us from our captivity to sin. And, he was sent to open the prison doors where we were in slavery to sin and to release us from our imprisonment to sin. Can you picture this with me?
Jesus Christ wasn’t sent into the world to die on a cross merely to forgive us our sins so that we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died to release us from our chains and to set us free from the sin which enslaved us. And that, my friends, is GOOD NEWS! THE BEST NEWS EVER!
And, he has sent us out into the world with the same message. And, that is the message that we need to be spreading far and wide. For, it is the only message that is going to truly save lives.
So, we have to be so careful that we don’t lessen the truth of the gospel to make it more “seeker friendly,” or to make it more fashionable or agreeable to the flesh of humans. For, Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him if we want to have eternal life with him (Lu. 9:23-26; cf. Rom. 8:1-17).
And, the New Testament Apostles taught the same thing. They taught that faith in Jesus Christ involves dying with Christ to sin, by the Spirit, and being resurrected to new life in Christ, by the Spirit, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For, Jesus paid the price of his blood for us on that cross that we would now be God’s possession, and that we would now honor and glorify God with our lives (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Isaiah 61:2-3 ESV
“To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”
And, what is the year of the Lord’s favor? Well, it is definitely the year that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. For, it was by God’s grace that Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross so that we could be set free from our imprisonment to sin. But, his grace is active all the time in setting people free from slavery to sin, and in giving them new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
And, his grace is not just active in the initial conversion of one from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God. But, his grace daily instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, again, his grace to us is not just an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. Not only does he deliver us out of our prisons to sin, and he breaks the chains which bind us, but he frees us and he empowers us to live to him and to his righteousness.
When we humble ourselves before him with contrite hearts, and we repent of our sins with godly sorrow, he changes us, he transforms us, and he makes us into new creatures in Christ Jesus, no longer bound by sin. He turns our ashes into beauty and our weeping into joy. And, where we were once fainthearted and fearful, he now fills our hearts with praise to our Lord.
And, all this he does, not just for us and for our freedom in him, but for his honor, glory and praise. For, he frees us so that we will be like him, and that we will be for his glory and praise, and so we will walk with him in his holiness and in purity of devotion to him for the rest of our days.
Isaiah 61:4 ESV
“They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.”
And, again, the beauty of our salvation from sin is not just for the afterlife, but it is for our lives right now. Jesus came to give us new lives in him, not like our old lives. Our old lives are now to be put to death so that we can live the lives God now has for us to live.
For us, as believers in Jesus Christ, what this means for us is that we have been restored to God. The ruins of our old lives are behind us, and now we are building new lives on a new foundation, which is Jesus Christ. What sin did to us, Jesus repairs, if we will let him. He makes everything new.
So, where we used to depend on the flesh, were ruled by the flesh, and were bound in sin, now we depend on God, he is our Lord, and we are now free from that slavery to sin. Now, in his power and strength, we can live holy and righteous lives. We can live in victory over darkness. We can shine as lights for the kingdom of heaven to the people around us. And, we are at peace with God, and we are living in the joy of our salvation.
We are now in relationship with Almighty God. We can enjoy sweet fellowship with him. He speaks to us through his Word. He gives us guidance and direction. He shows us his purpose for our lives. We listen to our Lord and we do what he says. The Lord uses us in the lives of others, too, to help them to know Christ and to have their chains lifted from them. And, they, too, can now walk in freedom and in the joy of the Lord.
And, the Lord is with us through every trial, through every tough road. He goes before us and he prepares the way. And, he does amazing things in and through our lives for his glory and for the strengthening and encouragement of others, for their welfare. For, he is loving and forgiving, full of grace and mercy, and he is the restorer of broken lives. Amen!
You are Loving and Forgiving
An Original Work / February 19, 2012
Based off Psalm 86
You are loving and forgiving,
Jesus, Savior, King of kings.
You provided our redemption.
By Your blood You set us free.
You are gracious; full of mercy.
No deeds can compare with Yours.
Great are You; there is none like You.
Glory be to Your name.
Teach me Your way, and I’ll walk in it.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth.
May I not have a heart divided,
That Your name I give honor to.
I will praise You, O Lord, my Savior,
For great is Your love toward me.
You have delivered me from my sins.
Your grace has pardoned me.
You, O Lord, are full of compassion,
Slow to anger, bounteous in love;
Faithful to fulfill all You promise;
Glory be to Your name above.
Hear, O Lord, and answer Your servant.
You are my God. I trust in You.
Turn to me and grant Your strength to me.
You are my comforter.