The grace and mercy of God is beyond our understanding. A straying humanity is never beyond His restoration. The promises in Isaiah 61 are phenomenal in the Creator God’s loving manifesto towards those broken and in despair who recognise their spiritual poverty and deep need of Him.
Jesus came to reverse the curse that was basically caused by Adam and Eve going their own way and throwing all humanity into the destructive patterns of sin and death. (Gen 4 17-19) Jesus opened His ministry with a 400 year prophecy concerning His redemptive plan to those, who of their own accord, had pierced their souls with the devastating effects of rebellion against Him who loved them so much.
Jesus came to preach the Good news to those oppressed by His eternal enemy, satan, and to bind up the broken hearts ravished by the lies and deception of the kingdom of darkness by appealing to the sins of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life.
“Do not love the world (i.e. the philosophies that oppose God) or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” I Jn 2:15-17
Jesus came to free the prisoners held in the dark captivity of inherent sins and bound to repeating the same mistakes as their ancestors. Hence He brought about the favour of the LORD to those who accept His invitation to have Him come in and “sup” with them (i.e. have a relationship with Him) (Rev 3:20), and to bring His Light to the hurting places in their souls; to comfort them with eternal salvation as by the Spirit, they are born again. (Jn 3:5-8)
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Jn 8:12
Jesus began declaring, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17) and He began to pour out upon the people the fullness of the favour of the Kingdom only hinted at in the Old Testament but had now become a visual aid in His ministry and work during His days on earth.
Thankfully it didn’t end there, for the same manifesto prophesied over the Messiah’s life before He came, is the same manifesto over the Sons and Daughters of God as Jesus promised:-
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works then these he will do, because I go to the Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Jn 14: 12-14
And there is more…. The passage in Isaiah goes on to give us amazing promises of full restoration in a series of “instead ofs” that come with the comfort of the LORD. What grace! We who caused our own discomfort and pain in the ever spiralling downward pull into darkness, receive comfort and restoration in at least a double measure. Both those taken captive by sin and those a victim of sin against them receive this restoration:-
Beauty instead of ashes;
Oil of joy instead of mourning;
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
instead of shame, double honour;
instead of confusion, rejoicing in their portion;
and, they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs. Is 61: 3-7
This restoration from the loving hand of the Father through the Spirit leads to three results. Our ministry to the LORD is birthed out of the overcoming victory of being set free by the LORD and secondly His favour and restoration will be clearly witnessed by others.
“That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Is 61:3b
And thirdly, this becomes, “And the day of vengeance of our God” (Is 61:2b). The enemy of our soul, the one who comes only to “kill, steal and destroy” (Jn 10:10) has no more authority in the area of our lives he originally kept us captive and where freedom has been secured by our Saviour’s work on the cross. “if the Son set you free you will be free indeed.” Jn 8:36
Joy indeed flows and more joy when we are able to help someone who has been taken captive in the same area with the comfort that we received from the LORD. We now have the authority in this area to take others into freedom. We never take vengeance on people, for our fight is not with “flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12 The vengeance of the LORD is against satan and his hordes.
This “instead of” principle can be the spirit of prophecy over all areas of our Christian walk and is also a part of growing to become more like Jesus. Whatever negative emotion holds you captive, the “instead of” principle will return the opposite quality of the Kingdom in a two-fold blessing. We go from victim to victory, overcoming in the power of the Spirit and become a conqueror to help others.
If you are anxious all the time, this obviously, is not a Kingdom of Light emotion. The “instead of” clearly is “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, (and) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7 There is a “work” you have to do though – BELIEVE God’s promise is for you, surrender the anxiety and walk in His peace. We need to renew our minds. In this passage of scripture regarding anxiety, the Apostle Paul gives us some keys to walk in this freedom.
Surrender the anxiety.
Adopt an attitude of thanks giving.
Mediate on “whatever things are true…noble…just…pure…lovely…of good report…virtue…praiseworthy” Phil 4:8
Think of the joy set before you. Your overcoming victory will take someone else to freedom and you will have exacted your vengeance upon the spirit of anxiety who held you captive in the first place.
All of us will have strongholds in some areas, but we can hold to and believe in the “instead of” God wants to lavish upon us to facilitate healing and freedom in our lives. Hallelujah!