Thursday, December 13, 2012

And Ransom Captive Israel

“O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.”
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
Author Unknown
Latin text, ca. 12th century

Israel is the name for God’s people. Us. Citizenship there was once earned through the perfect observance of hundreds of laws. (Just try and read Leviticus. I dare you.) Even if we could take all those right actions, our motives wouldn't be pure: we'd desire to get ourselves into heaven and avoid punishment every bit as much as we'd desire to glorify and love God.

"Captive" is a good way to describe anyone whose salvation or damnation rests on something as precarious as our ability to be perfect. Thank God, the Cross of Christ stands as firm as a rock: the one sure foundation that has fulfilled every law perfectly for us in thought, word and deed, everything we've done, everything we've left undone, and everything that was done to us. As we are baptized into Jesus' perfection, our imperfection is completely covered up, and we become children of God. Israel is finally free from the captivity of our sin, and that means you and me.

We have every reason on earth and in heaven to rejoice. Do good things for His sake, and for the sake of your brother whom He loves. He's already earned you a place in heaven.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, 
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn.”
Isaiah 61:1-2

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