Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV
“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;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God…”
Jesus Christ quoted this about himself when he lived on this earth, but as his followers, we are also filled with God’s Spirit, and we are given the task of being the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and of being those who proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his light.
And the Good News that Jesus preached, and that we are to also preach (share, teach) is that Jesus died on that cross so that we would be crucified with him in death to sin and be raised with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24).
For, you see, the Good News is not just that Jesus died for our sins, or that he rose from the grave, or that by faith in him we can be forgiven our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God. The Good News is that Jesus died on that cross and rose again so we might be delivered from our slavery to sin so we might now be slaves of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).
Therefore, God’s grace to us is not just forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life with God, especially without qualifications. For, God’s grace trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for him (Tit 2:11-14).
God’s grace to us is deliverance from our bondage to sin and it is empowerment of the Spirit of God to resist Satan and to flee temptation and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. The Holy Spirit within us gives us all we need to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God (Rom 8:1-17).
But what if we don’t? What if we profess faith in Jesus Christ but we keep on living in sin, making it our practice, while we refuse to obey our Lord? The Scriptures teach we will die in our sin. We will not have eternal life with God (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
Isaiah 61:2-3 ESV
“…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.”
If our faith in Jesus Christ is God-persuaded and God-initiated (Jn 6:44), then that faith is going to align itself with God’s character and with his divine will and purpose for all of humankind, which has not changed.
Thus, we will die with Christ to sin. We will be raised with him to newness of life in him. And now we will walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
We will also grieve (mourn) over our sin when we are confronted with our sin by the Holy One. We will not take it casually. We will weep. But then God will comfort us with his love and grace. And he will replace our sadness with gladness. And he will exchange our sins for/with his righteousness.
But his righteousness is not just a status that we wear. Those who are righteous in God’s sight are those who make righteousness (not self-righteousness, but God’s righteousness) their practice (1 Jn 3:7).
Also, our salvation from our slavery to sin isn’t just for us, for our benefit, but it is for the glory and praise of God. We are for his glory, and we are to live our lives for his glory, for that is why he gave his life up for us on that cross that we might now honor God with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20).
Romans 1:16-17 ESV
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
We who are followers of Jesus Christ should be following in his footsteps in sharing the gospel of our salvation with the world around us. If you are reading this, you obviously have access to the internet. For those of you with the freedom to do so, you can be sharing the gospel on the internet.
I see so many Christians (or professing Christians) on social media talking about everything but Jesus. Jesus is never mentioned in their conversations or he is barely ever mentioned, perhaps only on religious holidays. This should never be.
Isn’t it interesting how most Christians have no problem talking about the things in their lives which get them excited or happy. They will talk up a storm about politics, the news, their hobbies, their families, and their entertainment choices, including music, games and movies/TV.
But they will be embarrassed to talk about Jesus unless in a religious setting or unless it is on a religious holiday. For, they don’t want to be rejected or considered “weird” or “hyper-religious” or “self-righteous” if they talk about Jesus Christ with their friends.
But if Jesus is our Lord (owner-master) and our husband, and we are his bride, and if truly we have been delivered from our bondage to sin, wouldn’t we want to see others be delivered, too? Shouldn’t this be heavy on our hearts that so many are dying in their sins? Thus, shouldn’t we be actively telling them the Good News?
Here I Am, Lord
By Daniel L. Schutte
I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
I who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart…
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