“Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.
Isaiah 40:2

Our God is Kind and Forgiving

Take a minute to read over verse two. What do you see about the way God is speaking? God is speaking kindly to His beloved children. He is speaking words of peace, and not of evil.

 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

 That last part where it talks about: “she has received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” is very encouraging to me. It shows us the lovingkindness and mercy of the Lord our God even after we stray from Him and wallow in our own selfishness and sin.

 This verse does not mean that God is like a nice grandfather in heaven who just winks at our sin.

 What it does mean is that God, who is perfectly just and holy in His judgement, and who cannot even have one spec of sin in His sight, looks upon His perfect Son and His blood shed for us and pronounces us, the guilty, as righteous.

 Jesus paid our fine so we can legally go free. He gets the terrible wrath of God, we get the grace and pardon of God.
Our “iniquity has been removed”. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1. That’s you and I – those of us who have put our faith in Christ alone for salvation. Our iniquity is removed not because of any good of our own, or righteousness of our own, or good deeds we have done, but because of His love and mercy (Titus 3:5).

 God Frees us from being Enslaved to Sin

Worship to God
In looking up the word “warfare” in a Bible dictionary, I found it could also be translated as “hard service”. Hard service – wow, that reminds me of Jesus’ words:

 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30

 Ok, read that again.

 Jesus’ yoke or “way of life” and His burden are light. That sounds a lot like our “warfare” or our hard service being ended!

 That may sound funny to some of you, that following Jesus is supposed to be easy. Some of you, like me, might be thinking, or have thought: “You know what, following Jesus is hard – He is always getting in the way of my decisions and seems to always say no to the fun things I want to do… And not only that, but I am constantly getting ridiculed and embarrassed for believing in Jesus and being the ‘good kid’. I wish I could just be saved (get my hell-fire insurance) and then live the rest of my life how I want to”.

 Of, course you or I would never say that out loud, but sadly I know I have thought that many times.

 But that’s not how the Christian life works. It is not a one-time act of mentally believing in Jesus and then back to the old “normal” ways.

 Jesus came so that He could live His life inside us. He came to free us from being slaves to our selfish old man, and set us free to serve God and enjoy Him forever (Galatians 5:1).

shackles If you were to ask me, or anyone else who has struggled with a sexual sin, or some other controlling passion, if it felt good to do “whatever my flesh wanted or craved for” – I would have told you yes… but then absolutely no! Sure, there is pleasure in sin for a season, but then it becomes a slavery that you are stuck in – bonds and chains holding you back and forcing you to do something your spirit hates.

 Don’t be deceived – the flesh is a very hard and mean master! It will never leave you truly happy. EVER!

 Who is God though? Is He a hard slave master looking to punish us and take all the fun out of our lives?

 Or is He One who’s every action toward us is motivated out of pure love for our good and His glory? So that even in His discipline, it is not to harm us or enjoy seeing us suffer, but for our eternal good! (Heb. 12:5-11)

 Here is what God is saying to you in His Word:

 “In Christ, my child, your iniquity is 100% pardoned –
I have washed your sins away as far as the east is from the west.
I, Jesus, came to set you free and to give you a new life.
Your hard service of being enslaved to your
selfish and hurting desires is over.

You are now free to truly love others,
love God and enjoy Him forever.
The whole reason I came to earth
is so that you might have joy,
and might have it more abundantly.

And where is that joy found you ask?
In My Father’s very near presence is fullness of joy,
and in His right hand there are pleasures forever more!
O listen to me – you are my beloved child,
and my heart delights in you.”

Rom. 8:1; Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:34-40; John 15:11; John 10:10; Ps. 16:11

 O, what a Good and Awesome God we serve! He is worthy of ALL our praise and of ALL our life!

-Caleb Mellas