Cover to Cover
You were once far off, but now are brought near because of Christ (verse 13). Do you remember being far from God? We didn’t know Him. We were lost, but now we’re found. We were blind, but now we see. What about the people who are still far from God? How do we treat them? Do they feel loved or condemned? What are we doing to reach them? Do they feel we are keeping them out with judgement or do they feel we are drawing them in with love?
In this chapter, Paul isn’t evangelizing the lost. He’s reminding the saved that their salvation was not based on their performance, but on their faith through grace. In verses 11-12, he says, “REMEMBER… AT THAT TIME YOU WERE WITHOUT CHRIST, BEING ALIENS…AND STRANGERS… HAVING NO HOPE… WITHOUT GOD.” In verse 19, “NOW… you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens.” Both Jew and Gentile, together, all built on Christ.
In Christ, we are collectively being built as a temple for God, or a dwelling place of God in the spirit (verses 19-22). When we collectively come together, God is with us and in us. We’re His house, and He should be able to have His way in His house. When we come together, pursuing His plan and purpose, God will not only BE with us, but God will MANIFEST Himself and His tangible anointing. That anointing, or power, is what we need to find breakthrough and freedom. The anointing is what brings healing and miracles. The anointing is what draws hearts to repentance and baptizes people in the Holy Spirit. The anointing is what gives manifestations of the Spirit as found in 1 Corinthians 12. We are also individual temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19) and can receive from God; however, there is something special about gathering together. When a person sins and defiles his body, it can hinder the anointing or block a blessing. If someone works against unity in a local church, it can hinder the anointing of the Spirit. God is merciful; however, if a person is a backbiter or complainer, he or she will be found as working against God and resisting His Spirit. Let’s choose to build one another up, and seek the glory of God to be manifested in the local church and in the kingdom of God.
Isaiah continues to prophesy against nations, then in chapter 21 we read about the fall of Babylon, or the world system. The phrase, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” is also found in Revelation 14:8 and in Revelation 18:2. Throughout history we have watched the rise and fall of many nations. Nations that fell are nations that refused to call out on God in prayer and faith. As Christians, we must pray for our country and attempt to win the citizens of our country for the Lord. God, by His mercy and in response to prayer, has often held back the judgment of sin on nations. However, if there is not repentance, God will begin to allow judgments to come, judgments that our sin has brought on itself. As Christians, we must not only see ourselves as individuals, but as a people. We are part of the nation we live in, so we must take on our responsibility to intercede on behalf our of nation.