Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Saturday after Gaudete, The Third Sunday in Advent

Posted on December 22, 2018 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Isaiah 52:1-12 (NKJV)
52:1 Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean shall no longer come to you. 2 Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion! 3 For thus says the LORD:
“You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.”
4 For thus says the Lord GOD:
“My people went down at first into Egypt to dwell there; Then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
5 Now therefore, what have I here,” says the LORD,
“That My people are taken away for nothing? Those who rule over them make them wail,” says the LORD, “And My name is blasphemed continually every day. 6 Therefore My people shall know My name; Therefore they shall know in that day that I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I.'”
7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” 8 Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; For they shall see eye to eye when the LORD brings back Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the LORD has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
11 Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the LORD. 12 For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; For the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
God’s people are supposed to be a living testimony to His righteousness and grace. From the beginning He has taught us His ways and shown us His merciful works. He even gives us the power of His own Holy Spirit to have faith and do His commands. But people still act faithlessly and forget His blessings. Rather than be a testimony of His goodness, they receive His warnings and serve as examples for His wrath against wickedness.
In our time many people claiming to be Christians emphasize peace, love, and forgiveness, but they disregard God’s teachings on righteousness and true faithfulness to His Word. Such people seek their own will and try to justify themselves, leaning on their own selfish understanding.
His Word does not just teach a cheap grace that ignores sin. He calls us to repent and be washed from the uncleanness of disobedience. He promises peace and mercy, but He gives it through the truth of His whole counsel. Rebellion against His commands must be condemned and sinners must be called to repent, otherwise His name is blasphemed by careless, false teaching. Instead, we are to act and confess faithfully so sinners may know that they have been redeemed from death without any money or power of their own, but by the holy blood of Jesus Christ crucified.
We pray: Lord, we beseech Thee, give ear to our prayers and lighten the darkness of our hearts by Thy gracious visitation; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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