“For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”
Jeremiah 29:10-14 NKJV
We all have the story of what we were like before we came to know the Lord. We were captives to sin and death, condemned to hell with no hope. When we are saved by the cross of Christ, we are freed from the condemnation for our sin, and given the power to resist future sin. We are made new creations in Christ, being recreated in the image of Jesus.
Even having been saved, we have within us, deadly residue, a memory and lingering desire for the sins that so ensnared us before we knew Jesus. It is the old man, the sinner now dead, but haunting us like and unwanted poltergeist, causing havoc in our lives. If not careful,we can find ourselves enslaved for a season, caught up in a sin confess cycle, where we are backslidden and feeling far from God.
The children of Israel had fallen into captivity in Babylon, as they had fallen away from following the laws of God. But God demonstrated His great mercy in assuring them that they would once again experience the love and protection of the Lord, once they had returned to Him.
That passage in Jeremiah is a wonderful type and shadow of God’s grace for the New Testament believer. Many of us have had those seasons of struggle, when we have fallen into the well worn rut of past sin, as we have taken our spiritual eyes off the path of righteousness. We have the promise of restoration, as we know that there is no permanent separation from God for those who are in Christ.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Romans 8:1-2 NKJV
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I John 1:9 NKJV
Caught up in a stronghold of sin can be so painful, as we feel estranged from the source of life, the vine in which we abide. In those moments, God seems so far away. I have learned that He is always near, as it is I who have strayed. When I have repented of my sin, I am amazed of how quickly the Lord welcomes me, even running to me, like the father received the prodigal who had strayed.
““And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.”
Luke 15:20-22 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, you may be one who has found yourself in captivity to a sin, long forgiven, but which lingers like a snare, catching your heel. Know today that you are not abandoned by our loving God. His grace is sufficient, and His salvation good to the outermost. Remember that Jesus died for all of your sins, all of which were known from the foundation of the world.
Through the Holy Spirit you have the power to turn from sin, to live pure and holy, glorifying God in your whole person. Even in your darkest moment, the Lord has not given up on you. Like it says in chapter 29, and verse eleven:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
God sees us as justified in Christ. In Jesus we are complete, holy and in the beloved. My people, seek the Lord today, seek Him with all your heart, with all your mind, and all your power. If you seek Him, you will find Him. In your seeking, you will find Him, and He will restore you. Jesus came to free the captives.
Today can be your day of liberation, the day you are set free from that old man, who holds onto you with putrified hands.
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
Romans 6:17-18 NKJV
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
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