In my effort to get back to a regular Bible reading plan, I picked up my chronological Bible and turned to where I’d left off, Isaiah. Here is the passage that grabbed me by the eyeballs and wouldn’t let go:
Isaiah 59:20-21 “’The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,’ says the Lord. ‘And this is my covenant with them,’ says the Lord. ‘My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you.’”
I love this passage because it doesn’t say that the Redeemer is coming for those who have not sinned. The Redeemer comes for those who have turned away from their sins.
An exciting thing happens when we take these Old Testament prophecies and bring them into the light of the New Testament: we see that Christ is the fulfillment of these promises. He is our Redeemer. In Luke 4, we find Jesus in the synagogue reading from the scroll of Isaiah 61. He turns to the assembly and speaks the words that have the power to change the trajectory of every life:
“’The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable Year of the Lord.’
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Oh. My. Word. We, having the whole of Scripture before us, know what this means. Jesus is our release from captivity. He is our recovery from the things we can’t see. He is our freedom from oppression.
When we turn from our sins, Christ redeems us.
Let me ask…why do you sin? The Bible says that we sin in response to the temptations within…to gratify the evil desires within us (James 1). If you think about it, sinning is like stealing a blessing that isn’t ours to have. We steal because what we have doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
We sin because we want to fit in. We don’t want to disappoint anyone. We sin because we think it is the only way to get what we want.
And with that, we are right back to square one. “You sin to gratify the sinful desires of your heart.”
Trolling Facebook the other night, I read the truth shall set us free. That got me thinking about the passage that this phrase comes from.
In the same chapter (John 8) that Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more,” He says that when we continue in His word, we are His disciples, and then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. (v. 32) It is through knowing Christ that we are free.
Our freedom is inextricably bound in Christ. There is no freedom outside of Christ. Those activities and attitudes that we turn to in sin . . .they will never provide the freedom and the peace we are seeking.
So what do you do with all that?
You turn away from your sin and trudge back to the Redeemer. As many times as you have to.