Friday, March 11, 2016

The Lamb in Isaiah

“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but Yahweh has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him,” Isaiah 53:6 (NASB).

“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom Yahweh does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit,” Psalm 32:1-2 (NASB)

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB).

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 portrays the Servant of Yahweh “despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised and we did not esteem Him (53:3). (Please read Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, please read 2 Corinthians Chapter 5, and please read Psalm 32).

Living in the assurance that our sins are forgiven is inexpressible peace, and frankly the older I get the more precious Psalm 32 and passages like Romans 4:1 – 5: 11 are to me. I suppose I’m like a person who is cured from cancer going back to the physician to hear the words, “You are still clean, you are still cancer free.” One difference is that while the cancer survivor may not be able to trust his body to not produce future cancer cells, we can trust the forgiveness of God in Christ for eternity – God justifies us in Christ once and for all.

These passages become more precious to me not because I doubt the Gospel and therefore need greater assurance, but rather because the interplay of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit continue to penetrate my soul (Hebrews 4:12 in context) and reveal the depths of my sin. The Divine Sculptor chips away at all that is not the image of His Son (Romans 8:29 in context).

Yet, for me to be accepted Jesus had to be rejected. For me to be made righteous in Him, He had to become sin for me…for you…for us. Sin is hideous, it is vile, it is the toxin of all toxins, it is the toxin within which all toxins are found, from which all toxins flow. Sins flow from sin – and both must be dealt with if our union with God is to be restored – and thus we have forgiveness of sins in Jesus and we have our own death and resurrection in Jesus Christ, being made new men and women and children in Him. I learn to see myself in Christ as dead to sin but alive to God (Romans Chapter 6). Our sins are dealt with and we (the sinners) are dealt with – and we can say, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!” We can also say, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation…” (2 Corinthians Chapter 5).

But to get from guilty to not guilty, and to be transformed from sinner to saint, we have Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; we have the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. In Romans Chapter 5 Paul writes, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Yet, we look on Jesus as one cursed by God; and even those of us who profess to know Him are often found with Peter saying by words and deeds, “I’m not with Him!” Little wonder the writer to the Hebrews counsels that we should go outside the camp bearing His reproach (Hebrews 13:13) reminding us, “For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come,” (Hebrews 13:14).

Have we lost sight of Isaiah 52 – 53? Living in the light of Isaiah 52 – 53 how can we not share Him with others? How can we not yearn for greater intimacy with Him? How can we not bow with thanksgiving at the miracle of forgiveness? How can we not live as those who no longer belong to themselves? (2 Corinthians 5:14 – 15; 1 Peter 1:17 – 25).

This is a good season to mediate on Isaiah 52 and 53; it is a good season to remind ourselves of just what it means when we say, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29; Revelation Chapter 5).  

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