In today’s Bible reading* Jeremiah speaks encouraging words to God’s people, promising restoration.
But you, my servant Jacob, do not be afraid, and do not be discouraged, Israel, for without fail I will save you from far away, and your descendants from the land of their captivity! Jacob will return and have calm and quiet with no one to frighten him. And you, my servant Jacob, do not be afraid— this is the LORD’s declaration— for I will be with you. I will bring destruction on all the nations where I have banished you, but I will not bring destruction on you. I will discipline you with justice, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
Jeremiah 46:27–28 (CSB)
God, through Jeremiah, speaks against other nations. He also speaks these comforting words concerning the restoration of God’s people to their land. But in the midst of the comfort, he reminds them that God will discipline His people; He will not execute His discipline capriciously. God will deal with their sin; He will not just sweep it under the rug.
In fact, He can’t!
God’s people have sinned against Him. And their sin must be dealt with. God never excuses sin. His righteousness requires that sin be dealt with justly. To excuse sin would make God unjust.
Don’t think that you are immune in the Twenty-First Century! Your sin must be dealt with, just as Israel and Judah’s sin had to be dealt with.
Yes, God is a God of grace and mercy. That He would be merciful and gracious to just one undeserving sinner proves that He is full of mercy and grace. (And by definition, no sinner is deserving!)
But He is also a God of righteousness. Not one sinner can escape His righteousness. Because of His righteous character, He cannot just dismiss sin. To dismiss sin would make Him unrighteous!
The sin of every sinner must be paid for. And the punishment for the sin of His people must be fully satisfied if His people are to be able to stand in His presence.
That’s where Jesus comes in!
Jesus was the “atoning sacrifice” for our sin. God poured out His wrath on His Own Son in order to satisfy His own righteousness. God made Jesus — the One Who had never sinned — to become the object of His wrath so that His people could be made righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus gave His life, not because God’s people were so valuable or so loveable. No, because our sin was so grievous — because our sin was against such a great and Holy God — Jesus’ blood was the only thing that was valuable enough to restore God’s people to a right relationship with Him.
Jesus’ death definitively paid for our forgiveness! Because of Jesus’ death, we can be restored!
And for that, we can be eternally grateful!
* Chapters covered in today’s reading: