“Now, when a man has learned through the commandments to recognize his helplessness and is distressed about how he might satisfy the law–being truly humbled and reduced to nothing in his own eyes–he finds in himself nothing whereby he may be justified and saved.
Here the second part of Scripture comes to our aid, namely the promises of God which declare the glory of God, saying, “If you wish to fulfill the law, come believe in Christ in whom grace, righteousness, peace, liberty, and all things are promised to you. If you believe, you shall have all things; if you do not believe, you shall lack all things.” -Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty
What is the difference between the “gospel in the air” and the “gospel on the ground?” Read more here or download PDF
““For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”” (Isaiah 55:12–13 ESV)
Isaiah closes chapters 40-55 with a picture of the triumphal grace of God that ultimately sets all things right. He paints a picture of the consummation of all things – a time when joy and peace reign; a time when the curse is removed and arid, unproductive land becomes fruitful; a time of eternal peace and prosperity in the presence of God!!!
“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10 ESV)
God’s everlasting approval and acceptance, His affectionate, loving peace will always be upon us because of His compassion towards us which is expressed in the person of Jesus. v10
It seems to be a consistent theme in scripture that man forgets God. This is because we choose autonomous self rule instead of the surrendered rule and reign of the Almighty. This seems to still be an issue in my own heart. God save me!
Let us remember and reflect on the reason that we have for rejoicing in this New Year. The words of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 were spoken around 680 BC and are about the Exalted Sin-bearer. The substitutionary atonement of Christ is at the core of the Christian faith. Remember Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.
1) He was beaten beyond recognition. 52:14
2) He provides salvation for many nations. 52:15
3) He was not born into majesty, had no distinguishing external features or privileged in any way. 53:2
4) He was (and still is) rejected by men (our minds are naturally blinded by sin). 53:3
5) Acquainted with sorrows & grief (how could the Creator not be sorrowful at the abject depravity and rejection of His creation?). 53:3
6) He bore our sins, yet humanity did not understand or desire His sacrifice. 53:4-5
7) He was pierced for our transgressions and it is by His sacrifice that we are spiritually reconciled to God. His suffering addressed the wicked root of our terminal disease – sin manifested as autonomous self rule. 53:5
8) Like stupid and helpless sheep, we all have gone our own way – no one sought Him or saw need for His sacrifice. Despite our ignorant, hard, rebellious hearts, God laid the punishment due to us on Him – the innocent lamb of God. 53:6.
9) He did not complain, despite the cosmic inequity of His sacrifice on our undeserving, unwanting, unbelieving behalf. 53:7
10) He was wrongly condemned by unrighteous, oppressive, godless judgement. 53:8.
11) He was condemned as a common criminal, yet He was totally morally pure – the only acceptable sacrifice for sinners. 53:9
12) It was God’s will to crush His son under the weight of sin and His wrath; God makes and meets the demands to make us holy. 53:10
13) His suffering was not only physical, but also a soul level despairing. The holy, unstained, pure, omnipotent Creator experienced sin and His father’s associated wrath. For the first time in all of eternity, God turned His back and withdrew from His Son. Jesus experienced pain, suffering, despair, hopelessness, rejection and death on our behalf. 53:10
14) His suffering and punishment became an offering for our guilt, cosmic justice was served. 53:11
15) His perfect sacrifice will make many righteous. 53:11
We think approval comes from achievement; grace is the antidote to this way of thinking. “A yes grace, but, posture is the kind of posture that keeps moralism swirling around in our hearts and inside the church. And its the kind of posture that perpetuates an aroma of judgement in our relationships.” -Tullian Tchividjian, The Gospel of Works (part 9)