For you, the war is over!
‘Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished …’ Isaiah 40:2
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Romans 7:14–8:4
Through and by the Messiah, her warfare will be accomplished. Two ideas are included in the original term: a state of service connected with hardship, like that of the military life, and an appointed time, as it is rendered in Job 14:14.
These ideas equally apply to the Mosaic dispensation. It was a state of comparative servitude, distance, fear and labour. The ceremonial law was a yoke, a burden, which Peter says neither we nor our fathers were able to bear. But the gospel was to supersede it, and to bring in a state of life, liberty and confidence. Such likewise is the time of conviction. The awakened sinner feels terror, distress and bondage—but it is for an appointed time. To such we are commanded to preach comfort, by leading their thoughts to the Messiah. The Lord God, who knows the human heart—its wants, feelings and desires—when he would comfort and speak to the heart, proposes one object, and only one, as the necessary and all-sufficient source of comfort. This is the Messiah. Jesus in his person and offices, known and received by faith, affords a balm for every wound, a cordial for every care.
Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat
Be thou my shield and hiding-place!
Where JESUS answers prayer;
That, sheltered near thy side,
There humbly fall beneath his feet,
I may my fierce accuser face,
For none can perish there.
And tell him, thou hast died.
Thy promise is my only plea,
Oh, wondrous love! to bleed and die,
With this I venture nigh;
To bear the cross and shame;
Thou callest burdened souls to thee,
That guilty sinners, such as I,
And such, O LORD, am I.
Might plead thy gracious name.
Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
‘Poor tempest-tossed soul, be still,
By Satan sorely pressed;
My promised grace receive’;
By war without, and fears within,
’Tis JESUS speaks—I must, I will,
I come to thee for rest.
I can, I do believe.
SERMON SERIES: MESSIAH, NO. 1 [2/4], ISAIAH 40:1–2