Monday, May 16, 2005

God has redeemed His people: Is 44:22-23

" 'I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.' Shout for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; for the LORD has redeemed Jacob and in Israel He shows forth His glory." (Isaiah 44:22-23)
Isaiah is speaking prophetically about the work that Jesus would perform on the cross. Isaiah declares, "the Lord has redeemed Jacob!" And not just Jacob, but God has brought redemption to all nations, tribes, and people. John reminds us that "He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)
God has redeemed mankind!

But if this is true, then why do so many people still walk as prisoners to their sins? Why do so many people still live lives separated from the presence and the grace of God? The answer is in the counsel given to us by God, "Return to me, for I have redeemed you." God has done the redeeming part, now it is our turn to return to Him. The writer of Hebrews, in referring to the Nation of Israel when they stood at the bank of the Jordan river, said, "For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard." (Hebrews 4:2) It's not enough to know that God has redeemed us, we must also receive it by faith.

This reminds me of the story where the rich man prepared a banquet and invited all his friends. Yet, those for which the banquet was prepared all made excuses why they couldn't come. "The first one said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.' Another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.' Another one said, 'I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.' " (Luke 14:18-20) Therefore, the master of the feast commanded his servants to, "Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:23)

God has prepared for us His banquet. He has paid the full price. And now He is inviting us to come in and share it with Him in His presence. The only question that remains is, will we go to His banquet? Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins, that we might be reunited with the Father. His salvation is ours. But will we return to Him and receive His salvation?

David Robison

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