September 6: Salvation Complete
September 6, 2016
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
<![CDATA[Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 14-16, Proverbs 21:1-16, Luke 22:1-13, Hebrews 4:1-11 Isaiah 14-16: Interwoven through Isaiah is this thread of restoration combined with judgment. Just because God used the pagan nations around his people to bring discipline upon his people in no way means that he will not in time to come judge those pagan peoples for their sins and rebellion against him. So chapter 14 begins with promise of restoration for his people (14:1-2). And then rapidly it moves—throughout the rest of these chapters—to various descriptions of judgment upon those who had thought they had triumphed over God’s people during their exile, while they were under God’s discipline. It is disconcerting to read of God’s people being encouraged to take up a “taunt” against anyone (14:4), even Babylon as a symbol of wickedness and evil, but this is not the yah-boo sneering and jeering politics of the school playground, but instead the formal declaration of the rightness of God’s action against the wicked. There is a place to agree that Nazism was evil, and it is not wrong to write books describing the nature of that evil, even sing songs about that evil—as soldiers have been known to do. At any rate it is God’s judgment, not ours, and it is against Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, and Moab. In the middle of all this judgment, salvation is there too: “a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness” (16:5). We tend to think of salvation as inimical to judgment; but if there was no danger of wrath and hell, there would be no need for salvation. God in his mercy has provided a way out, a way to escape his wrath against all the unrighteousness of humanity, and that way is through the Christ, the one that Isaiah is consistently beginning to point towards. Make, then, God neither “tame lion” or petty deity who agrees with us and forgives because it is his job to forgive, as Voltaire is said to have famously and cynically quipped. Make God not a lowercase “god” of our imagination who has no power to terrify the evildoer and bring the architects of the holocaust justice. But also make God not the lowercase “god” of violent vengeance without love or mercy. God, in his nature, is love; he is also holy. And it is at the cross where love and justice meet, truth and mercy mingle, and there it is that salvation is complete. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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