Proclaim Liberty for the Captives

Isaiah 61:1-3 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;
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.”

The Good News!

This, in essence, is the message of the gospel of our salvation, and Jesus quoted the first part of this about himself (Lu 4:17-21). But he was not the only one to bring this good news. All of us who are in Christ, by God-given faith in him, are to be sharing the good news of this gospel to the world around us (1 Pet 2:9; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18).

So, what is this “good news”? It is not just that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that by faith in him we can be forgiven our sins and have the hope of heaven when we die. It is that Jesus Christ died on that cross in order that we might become the righteousness of God, and that we would live righteously in his power and strength. For he died that we might no longer live to please ourselves but him who died and was resurrected.

For, when Jesus died on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us so that when he died our sins died with him. And this was in order that, by faith in Jesus Christ, we would be crucified with Christ in death to sin and that we would be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. It was for the purpose to deliver us out of our slavery (captivity, bondage) to sin, not just to forgive our sins.

And that is what makes it “good news.” For, if all his salvation does is just forgive us our sins and promise us heaven when we die, but we remain in slavery (addiction) to sin, then we aren’t really free. We aren’t healed. For sin still has power over us, and we aren’t free from its control, and that is a horrible place to be. That is like still being in prison with no way out. But the “good news” is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness in victory over sin. Hallelujah! Praise Jesus!

The Lord’s Favor

The Lord’s favor is his grace to us. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve God’s grace. It is a free gift to us which must be received by faith in Jesus Christ. But the “free gift” is not just forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die. The “free gift” is being liberated from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can live in victory over sin in righteousness and holiness by the grace of God and in his power and strength (Rom 6:1-23).

For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs (teaches, trains) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. For we are now God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Titus 2:11-14; Eph 2:8-10).

And the faith that is required of us for salvation does not come from us. It is also gifted to us by God, it comes from God, Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith, and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ. And faith is God persuading us as to his righteousness and holiness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to surrender to him as Lord, and to follow him in obedience.

The Day of Vengeance

The gospel message is that we are born into this world with sin natures, in the image of Adam. We have all sinned, and we all come up short of attaining God’s divine approval and his righteousness. Not one of us can be righteous in ourselves and in our own good works done in our flesh. We all need Jesus and his grace to save us from our sins. But Jesus died to free us from our addiction to sin so we would now be slaves of righteousness.

But faith is not of ourselves, and it is not an emotional experience, and it is not just praying a one-time prayer to receive Christ. Faith is something that is of God which we must appropriate to our lives, and it must be continuous and enduring and fruit bearing until the day we die or we don’t have the hope of heaven when we die. For faith is obedience, and it is action.

Therefore, the Scriptures teach that we must walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. We must no longer walk in sin. We must not make sin our practice. Righteousness is to be our practice, by faith, by the grace of God. And obedience to our Lord and to his commands is also to be our practice, as well as we are commanded to love and to not hate our fellow humans.

So, if obedience, submission to Christ, forsaking our sins, and walking in righteousness and holiness are what we practice, by the grace of God, then we have eternal life with God. But if sin and unrighteousness and disobedience and hate are our practice, instead, then we will not inherit the kingdom of God, no matter what anyone else tells you. And these are not my words. This is what the Scriptures teach, so please follow the truth.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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