Day 3: Grace, Peace, Lord, Father

Galatians 1:3 :

Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ,

Grace simply means “favor.” Here, it is a word used to describe how God favors us, and that because he favored us we have peace with God. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, our punishment was paid for. Before this was done, we were not at peace with God. There was a division between us.

God is a just God, and because of this, He does not allow any sin to go unpunished. In the Bible, forgiveness doesn’t mean to “allow to go unpunished.” With God, no sin goes unpunished. Actually, the punishment for sin is death and Jesus took that punishment for the sins of the world (past, present and future; and yes it includes horrible sins like murder, sexual sins, etc.)

God’s kind of favor is the kind that we definitely don’t deserve. We are sinners and He chose to pay for our sins at a significant cost to Himself rather than destroy us. Our peace, on the other hand, comes from an act of justice. The death of Jesus was the legal payment for our sin. We are rightfully free of our sin when we believe in the fact that Jesus paid for it. That is how we are “Saved.” Now God has made Jesus “Lord” over everything. God was very pleased with Jesus. He did exactly what He was supposed to do. As believers, we also recognize that Jesus is “Lord,” because by Him we are saved.

Because of what Jesus has done, God is now our Father. This is mentioned many times in the book of John too. It is sometimes hard to believe that we are that important, but the Bible makes it very clear that we are, and that God really is our Father. We are forgiven, and at peace with God now. We are greatly loved, and we have His favor.

Day 21: Bad Brothers

Lamentations 4:17-22 :

Our eyes still fail,
looking in vain for our help.
In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save.

They hunt our steps,
so that we can’t go in our streets.
Our end is near.
Our days are fulfilled,
for our end has come.

Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky.
They chased us on the mountains.
They set an ambush for us in the wilderness.

The breath of our nostrils,
the anointed of Yahweh,
was taken in their pits;
of whom we said,
under his shadow we will live among the nations.

Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Edom,
who dwells in the land of Uz.
The cup will pass through to you also.
You will be drunken,
and will make yourself naked.

The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, daughter of Zion.
He will no more carry you away into captivity.
He will visit your iniquity, daughter of Edom.
He will uncover your sins.

As I considered this passage, I found it helpful to recall the history of Israel’s dealings with Edom. When we do that, it’s important to remember the founder of the nation. It was Jacob’s brother Esau that was it’s father. The land of Edom comes from the a twin brother of Israel. You would think that if you wanted help from a nation, it would only be natural to get that help from a group of very close relatives, but that’s not how it went.

When Moses was guiding the redeemed slaves of Israel through the desert, they actually asked the Edomites if they could simply pass through it without staying. Edom not only didn’t invite them to stay a while, they denied them the ability to pass through and even threatened them with harm if they tried.

Things obviously didn’t change over the years after Israel became a strong nation. Now, when they were brought low, Edom continued to keep their distance from Israel. I sense a bit of sarcasm from God here, if I’m reading it right. He says: “Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Edom… You will be drunken, and will make yourself naked.” What I read here is that not only was it their brother Israel’s time of judgment, but it was about to be Edom’s also.

We have some very comforting words at the end of this lamentation. God says: “The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, daughter of Zion. He will no more carry you away into captivity.” What a wonderful thing it is for any of us to hear that our time of judgment is over and that we will have peace with God. That’s why Christmastime so special. It’s when God announced His peace with mankind. What an amazing day that was when God Himself sent angels to tell the world that He was now ready to remove their iniquity.