© August 23, 2018| Schulter Etyang
Pay them back, Lord,
for all the evil they have done.
Give them hard and stubborn hearts,
and then let your curse fall on them!
Chase them down in your anger,
destroying them beneath the Lord’s heavens.
Lamentations 3:64-66 (NLT)
Jeremiah, in this lament, ends by asking God to get back at his enemies – Give them hard and stubborn hearts, and then let your curse fall on them! Chase them down in your anger, destroying them beneath the Lord’s heavens.
Bad hey? Yes. I wouldn’t want to be his enemy.
In the New Covenant, Jesus laments, however, his lament ends up like this
Luke 23:34 (NLT)
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
In the Old Covenant, judgment was declared on enemies. In the New Covenant, however, Jesus declared forgiveness to his enemies.
Enemies? Yes, us. All of us. Humanity. (Colossians 1:21 NLT)
Jesus declared the father’s forgiveness to all of us. The Christian is one who has accepted the forgiveness offered by Jesus. I was an enemy who accepted God’s forgiveness in Christ. That’s what makes me a Christian.
The church, then, is a community of forgiven former enemies. Evangelism, then, becomes the work of convincing other enemies that they have already been forgiven. That they should accept the forgiveness freely given by God in Christ, and then live as forgiven enemies – live joyfully, and lovingly in the world.
That’s what grace looks like