“Many people want the skyscraper promise of Romans 8:28, many want the precious reality of eternal security. But they don’t want it on God’s terms. They want their security AND their sovereignty. They want God to step in at the end of their lives with sovereign power and give them glory, but they do not want him to step in now with his sovereign grace and make them holy.” Listen Now:
““Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”” (Isaiah 6:3 ESV)
Isaiah is undone in the presence of the Lord as he cries out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”” (Isaiah 6:5 ESV). The prophet recognizes how short he falls from holiness when he is faced with the holiness of God as he stands in His presence. But God provides the only remedy for Isaiah’s (and our) position: grace. God graciously provides and atones for his sinful inadequacy: “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”” (Isaiah 6:6–7 ESV). Being in the presence of the Almighty and experiencing His grace moves Isaiah to action and service, ““Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”” (Isaiah 6:8 ESV). Isaiah is called to be a prophet to the people. However, Isaiah’s proclamation will not cause the people to repent and turn to the Lord, rather God had ordained that it would only serve to harden their already darkened and depraved hearts: ““‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”” (Isaiah 6:9–10 ESV). The regenerating faith to respond to God is a gift of His grace, for without it we won’t want Him.
“Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about ‘man’s search for God.’ To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat.” –Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:15–16 ESV)
We are friends of the omnipotent, sovereign Creator of all things. What a staggering statement! Jesus chose us to bear fruit, but we often times get it backwards. We want to tell people to go and bear fruit, but we neglect to point out that the fuel for the fruit is that He chose us and brings us in to a sustaining relationship with Him. Jesus chose us out of the world (verse 19), we are not friends with the world. We are not left on our own, the Spirit has come to remind us, sustain us, embolden us, and bear witness about Jesus (John 15:26). Jesus even said that it was to our advantage that he go away so the Spirit could come (John 16:7).
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12–13 ESV)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44 ESV)