Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Commandments To Awake (Part IV)

"Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money." (Isaiah 52:1-3)

The commands ring with the tones of spiritual awakening. Such awakening comes only through faith in the righteousness of Christ. Paul must have had this passage and others like it in mind when he wrote to the Ephesian church, "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light (Ephesians 5:14)." The new life experienced by thousands in the Church Age will be experienced by Israel in the last days. Lest confusion should arise as to the context of these things, God inserts this statement, there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. The primary focus is not the circumcision of the flesh but that of the heart. Physical circumcision was an outward mark of inward reality. God is saying that someday Jerusalem will not be plagued and ruled by unbelievers be they Gentile or Jew. Such has not been the case since the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC; therefore, this promise is primarily millennial.

Ezekiel also foretold of a day when Jesus' future sanctuary would not be defiled by the unregenerate. "Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel (Ezekiel 44:9)." As Isaiah's countrymen were faced with the impending doom of the Babylonian invasion and captivity, the Lord interjected a promise that served to lift the eyes of His people beyond these tragedies and to fix them upon the redemptive work of Christ.

Through her rejection of God's love, Israel had sold herself into sin's captivity. In light of this, God promised to redeem her without money. This promise of course is in reference to the power of Christ's finished work to redeem the soul of the sinner who places saving faith in the Messiah. Physical money cannot pay for sins. Good works cannot pay for sins. Only Jesus' blood shed by the grace of God can pay for sins. Grace is unmerited favor; therefore, salvation is given by God without charge and accepted by the sinner without offer of his own merits.

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (I Peter 1:18-19).

The Church understands the value of being redeemed without money, and someday Israel as a nation will understand as well.

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