Setting the Prisoners Free

Isaiah 42:5-9 ESV

“Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
‘I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.’”

This was a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior (See also Isaiah 49, Isaiah 61, and Luke 4:18-19). The part about Jesus being the covenant for the people is exclusively about Jesus Christ, but some of the rest of this was given to Paul as his calling (Acts 26:16-18), and to us, too (1 Peter 2:9). For what this represents is the message of the gospel of our salvation, and we are all called to share the gospel with other people.

For the message of the gospel is that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). He died that we might live for him and no longer for ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15,21). And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we will now honor God with our lives (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). For by faith in Jesus Christ “our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin,” but slaves of His righteousness (Romans 6:1-23).

For we, as well, have been called in righteousness. And if our faith is genuine, our Lord will also take us by the hand and he will keep us. And he will transform us in heart and mind away from living in sin and for self to now walking in his truth and in his righteousness, in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). And we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. And we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. And we are to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations. For to this he called us, too.

[Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:42-47; Acts 26:18; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom. 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 3:17; 1 Co 5:1-13; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 1:4,22; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-30; Col 1:18-22; Col 2:19; Col 3:12-16; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-31; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-9,21]

So we, too, are to open eyes that are spiritually blinded to the truth by telling people the truth of the gospel and by refuting the lies which are blinding their minds from accepting the truth. And we are to be those who are bringing out the prisoners, i.e. those who sit in darkness, by sharing with them that Jesus died to free us from our slavery (bondage, imprisonment) to sin and to give us new lives in him to be lived for him and for his righteousness, in walks of obedience to our Lord Jesus.

For by faith in Jesus Christ – a faith which comes from God and is gifted to us by God, and which is not of ourselves – we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24). So we are to no longer allow sin to reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions. For sin is to have no more dominion over our lives, for Jesus died to deliver us from slavery to sin.

So, before we begin trying to tell others the gospel message, we need to make certain that our faith in Christ is genuine faith which is resulting in us walking in holiness and in righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, and that we are no longer walking in sin, making sin our practice. And then we can share with others, from our own personal experience, what it means to be “in Christ” and to have Jesus as our Lord and Savior. For it means that we deny self, die daily with Christ to sin and to self, and that we follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands (Luke 9:23-26).

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Near the Cross

Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

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