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No, this is the kind of fast I want. I want you to remove the sinful chains, to tear away the ropes of the burdensome yoke, to set free the oppressed, and to break every burdensome yoke. I want you to share your food with the hungry and to provide shelter for homeless, oppressed people. When you see someone naked, clothe him! Don’t turn your back on your own flesh and blood! Then your light will shine like the sunrise; your restoration will quickly arrive; your godly behavior will go before you, and the Lord’s splendor will be your rear guard.
Here in Isaiah, we see a true picture of fasting come forth. Stand against injustice, share freedom with the oppressed, share what we have with those who do not have, and do not turn away from our own flesh and blood. Verse 8 gives us clear results of lives dedicated to this kind of fasting. Light will be seen, healing will manifest in and through our lives, your righteousness will pave your way forward, and the glory of the Lord will guard you. I pray that God drives this truth into our hearts and pours out our lives for the fasting He has chosen. With Christ, this can be done!
But when this priest had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” then he says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.”
We have a High Priest who is worthy! His sacrifice alone has made us perfect forever. You are not yet holy, no Christian is. We are being made holy (or sanctified) by the work of the Holy Spirit within us and our willingness to partner with Him in this life. The Holy Spirit testifies to us about Christ! This means that we are not left alone or abandoned by Christ or God simply because they are in Heaven. We have the Spirit of God in us – how great and loving is God that He would make His home with us!
But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life. For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The experience of being a servant or “slave” is determined by the character of that servant’s master. Our Master is Christ the Lord. We are indeed servants of God, yet as such we experience true freedom. We are free to choose not to sin. We are free to step out of those chains that held us since birth. We are free to worship and cry out to a God who loves us and will never forsake us. Understand this: without Jesus Christ we deserve death because of our sin. None of us deserve Heaven. We were bought at a price. Our gift is eternal life by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.
What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin, just as it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”
All people start in the same boat, and the boat is leaking and will eventually sink. Nobody earns their way in God’s eyes. A person is either saved by faith in Christ, or is subject to the full wrath of God that will be delivered upon them according to their deeds apart from Christ. The law reveals to us our sin, but following it cannot save us. (Romans 3:20) Christ alone is our hope, and He is a hope available to all. Repent and believe in the one and only Messiah! Praise God that we are saved, because we all NEED to be saved.
And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And in the same way he took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Today is about communion. We practice it to remember Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made through his body and blood. It is by His blood that the new covenant is set in place; the new covenant that you are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone! His body was given for you. The cup (Christ’s blood) was poured out for you. Christ’s life was not TAKEN, it was GIVEN – for you. When we eat and drink in this way, we do so remembering that it was our sin that held Him on that cross, and that He conquered that sin and death and is now alive! You have been set free! Amazing!