It's hard to believe we've already reached Week 6 in Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World. Of course, you've only been given a small taste; there's much more to look forward to!
For our final week with Jeremiah, author Melissa Spoelstra points us to "Finding the Source of Our Hope: The Promised Messiah."
The following is an excerpt from Day 4:
The Lord tells us that He is the true hope of Israel (Jeremiah 17:13). Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of that hope. He came to give us life, to be our righteousness, to be the bridge from sinful humanity to a holy God.
Though our sin separates us from God, He longs to be close to us. He wants us to know Him. So He sent Christ, His Son, as the perfect sacrifice to take the payment for all our sins upon Himself. He made a new covenant so that when we accept Christ’s payment on the cross by faith, we can have a relationship with a holy God. Now when God the Father looks down on us, He sees us through the lens of Christ’s sacrifice. He sees us as righteous because of what Christ has done for us. This frees us from our shame, our guilt, and our fear.
I understood this for the first time as a nine-year-old girl. I remember watching my brother and sister fighting on the porch through the screen door, thinking, “They have already decided to follow Christ.” I purposed in my heart that I would not decide to follow Christ until I could be good all the time. I knew I wasn’t ready. Then a few months later in Sunday school, a sweet teacher explained to me that I didn’t have to clean myself up for God. I just had to come to Him and recognize my sin because I would never get rid of it on my own. For the first time I understood that I didn’t have to be “good enough” for God; I only needed to accept His payment for my sin on the cross so that He could become “The Lord Is My Righteousness.” This began my journey of walking with Christ.
At times I still struggle with seeking approval from God based on my performance. When I’m doing well in obeying God, a tendency for pride creeps in, and when I fail, shame often comes knocking at my door. So when I sense I am heading down this path of performance-based acceptance, I stop and remind myself of God’s grace through Christ.
I like what Philip Yancey has written about grace: “Grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less. It means that I, even I who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God’s family.” Christ’s sacrifice made it possible for each of us to be at the table as part of God’s family. Jeremiah looked forward to this new covenant with anticipation. We look backward to Christ’s finished work on the cross with gratefulness. Through faith in the revelation God has provided, we trust Him to be our righteousness.
Reflect on the truth that there is nothing you can do to make God love you more and nothing you can do to make God love you less. Talk with God about how this gives you hope, thanking Him for His amazing grace through Christ.