Today a warning and call for God’s people to, basically, get out of the self-indulgent, self-centered, self-aggrandizing way of life. This is not an uncommon thing for us to see in Scripture – the call to be holy and separate and different to those who are not believers in the Lord Jesus.
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
“Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities.
6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
‘I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.’
8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”
Isaiah 52.11, Jeremiah 50.8, 51.45, 2 Corinthians 6.14, and Ephesians 5.11 all call for the believer to get away from this kind of life, to turn and run from that which is immoral, that which is improper for a believer, that which is inappropriate for an adopted son or daughter of God, and that which brings about the fierce anger of a Holy, Righteous, and Just God.
The second half of v.5 is most interesting; God has remembered her iniquities.
Contrast this with Hebrews 8.12, For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”, and the difference is striking.
On the one hand we read that God will give to those in Babylon – the representation of the commercially focused, consumerist, money-loving, greedy life – what they deserve because He remembers how they have turned from His ways. But, on the other hand, for those who turn to Him He remembers their sins no more. Hebrews 8.12 talks of the new covenant believers now find themselves under, those who are lucky enough to live post-cross. The covenant is still made with God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel, but, by faith, we inherit the blessings and benefits of the covenant. God’s redemption is so sweet!
The choice seems simple, no? Turn away from God and have Him remember just how far you turned and ran…or, turn to God and have Him wipe the slate clean on account of the righteous payment of His Son and have Him remember no more.