Isaiah 63-64 contrasts The Bloody Warrior God and the Ever-Loving Lord. Very briefly, the bloody, gruesome and very disturbing imagery (63:1-6) suggests how seriously God regards sin. Yet He is also forever lovingly committed to his sinful people (Isa 63:7). Whitney Houston's poignant song--"I will always love you"--expresses God's sentiment toward his people. God always loves you no matter how much you might cling to your sin. If we believe this, the power of sin begins to dim and diminish in our lives. On the cross, Jesus believed that his Father always loves him, even though at the moment he was utterly forsaken (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34). This is the majesty and mystery of the Cross. Do you believe that God loves you when you're going through an unbearable trial?

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word" (Isa 66:2b).

Theme: Christians often think and communicate to others that the primary distinction in the Bible is between Christians and non-Christians. But in fact the primary distinction in Scripture is not between believer and non-believer (Jew and Gentile, or Christian and non-Christian), but between a true worshiper of God and a false worshipper, between a true Jew and a false one (Rom 2:28-29), between a true Christian and a false Christian (Mt 7:21, 24, 26).

From last week's sermon (1/22/17), Isaiah emphasizes that The Goal of Salvation (Isaiah 60-62) is righteous living. From Isaiah 63 the primary emphasis is on God's power to enable his servants to live righteous lives.

Who are the enemies of the Judeans? Their own sins. Edom is no longer a problem (Isa 63:1a). They were captured by Babylon and were destroyed. They never returned. Edom doesn’t exist at this point in the return from exile. In the O.T. Edom is the symbol of the enemies of God.

So if the divine warrior is the one sent from God (Isa 63:1b-3), whose blood splatters his garment? It is his own. He became sin for our sakes (2 Cor 5:21). This warrior has symbolically become the sins of his enemies. He has become the sins of his people. In so doing it is his own blood that covers his garment (Rev 19:13).

Considering salvation, conversion, regeneration, Jesus comes as the suffering servant (Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 53). He takes the sins of the world into himself submissively and meekly. Like a lamb before it’s shearers he is dumb and silent (Isa 53:7). But when it comes to defeating sin in his people, he doesn’t come as the suffering servant. Rather, he comes as a divine warrior to destroy the power of sin in our lives (Isa 59:15-18).

It is important that we understand both pictures: 1) The suffering servant who meekly takes the sins of the world into himself and gives back love, AND 2) the divine warrior who comes to attack sin of his people; the divine warrior who destroy sin with his own blood. The cross is the answer to sins that were committed, and it is the answer to sins as a power in our lives. Only the cross is and has the power to defeat sin in our lives now. This is good news. Tragically, in the U.S. we have made it the answer to sins that were committed in the past, but which has nothing at all to say about sins that Christians commit now. This is tragic and unfortunate.

Isaiah60-62_Slides. "What is ultimate reality?" is the question posed in the last sermon, The City of God (Isaiah 60). Briefly, it is the world to come where God rules as King in righteousness (Isa 60:21) and where all sorrow and pain, evil and violence have been eradicated (Isa 60:19-20). This is in contrast to our present reality where all manner of vileness and darkness, rebellion and sin is prevalent and not at all unexpected.

Isaiah 60-62 display the glorious future of a Jerusalem in which God's glory shines through his anointed Servant (Isa 61:1-3). That glory is an expression of the reality that will exist when the divine warrior's conquest of sin is complete (Isa 59:16-17; 63:1-6). [Isaiah 60-62 form the center section of the chiastic structure in which chapters 56-66 are arranged.]