Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A double blessing for sin

Grace changes everything.

In Isaiah 40:1-2, God says, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for her sins.”

I used to read that and see the “she has received double” part in this way: Israel was so bad that God had to double-punish her in order for her to come around and now enough was enough. But in looking at this passage through the eyes of the Cross, there is a whole new meaning. Mercy is not getting what we deserve, and grace is receiving what we do not deserve. At the Cross, we received mercy and then the double-blessing of grace, which gave us life.

Israel gives God her sins, He gives her mercy and grace. She receives double. She does not pay double.

By Christ/In Christ, my hard service is completed – He lived the life I could not live.
By Christ/In Christ, my sin has been paid for – He died the death that I deserved, receiving the wages my sin earned.
Through Christ/In Christ, I receive from the Lord’s hand not only mercy, but also grace – not just payment of sins but the gift of life. A double-blessing.

Does this make me want to go out and sin more? No, it makes me love God and want to respond to Him in love, and it also helps me believe that God will give me all that I need to honor Him in my life and actions.

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