Friday, June 6, 2014

The Day is Coming

Monday, June 9, 2014
“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah.  In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation.  I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it.  But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up.  I, the LORD, have spoken!  “The people will no longer quote this proverb:  ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’  All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.  
“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.  This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt.  They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD.  “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD.  “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.  And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’  For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD.  “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Jeremiah 31:27 - 34 (NLT)
Jeremiah uses a bit of absurdity to get a point across.  Imagine watching a father or mother bite into a mouthful of not-quite-ripe grapes, and the small child standing next to them is the one whose lips pucker at the taste.

Yet that was a well-known phrase in the exiles of Israel; parental sins had put them in the “fix” of captivity.  It was the ancient equivalent of the blame game we see in 21st century culture:  It’s not my fault, I’m a victim.

Reality check:  There is no “pass” for personal guilt, no mitigating circumstances for our individual sins.  A person who bites into the unripe grapes of forbidden fruit will always experience the consequences of “puckering-up”.  As actor Robert Blake in the 70’s cop drama Baretta would say, Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

Jeremiah quotes God as saying “the day is coming” when there will be none of that – there will be no victim status to separate between humans and God.  And Jesus backed up what Jeremiah prophesied:

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.  Luke 22:20 (NLT)

God promised that the day was coming, and a New Covenant, sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ, when our forgiven sins would not be remembered by God.  That’s what a sacrifice does! 

For You, Today

Think for a moment about the last time you shared the Lord’s Supper in worship.  In your mind’s eye, picture yourself bringing the cup to your lips, and now look into the deep purple wine.  It’s the color of blood, isn’t it?  It’s supposed to make us remember what God has promised to forget – our sins!
Now – in your mind – drink the cup; that’s what Jesus did – he drank it to the very dregs, the bottom – every last drop.  It all disappeared, vanished, just like the memory in heaven of your sins.
It takes a sacrifice to restore relationship; the day is no longer coming.  The day of our forgiveness and cleansing is here!
Walk around all day today with THAT on your plate!

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