Isaiah 26:1-4 ESV
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Our strong city is the bride of Christ, the Holy City, the temple of God, the body of Christ, his saints, his church. Collectively it is all those who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives, who have died with Christ to sin that they might live with Christ to him and to his righteousness.
Our salvation from sin, which Jesus Christ provided for us on the cross, is our fortification, our protection, our safeguard and our defense against the wiles of the devil and the curse of sin and death. For, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord, we are delivered out of our slavery to sin and from the curse of sin and death. And, we are empowered of the Spirit of God to now walk in Christ’s righteousness.
And, Jesus Christ is the door, the gate, i.e. the only way to this salvation from sin and to eternal life with God. Only through him, through God-given faith in him can we be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God. And, his way for us to enter into this gate is that we must keep the faith, i.e. we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and we must continue in this faith to the very end of time (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, when we are walking in the ways of the Lord and no longer in the ways of our sinful flesh, we do have perfect peace because our minds remain on Christ. He is the focus of our lives, not the things of this world. Continually we are turning to him, putting our trust in him, submitting to his will, going where he sends us and doing what he commands. He is now our life, and not the things of this world. And, our desire is for him to do his will.
Isaiah 26:7-9 ESV
The path of the righteous is level;
you make level the way of the righteous.
In the path of your judgments,
O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Faith in Jesus Christ is not a religion or religious practices or rituals that we adhere to. First and foremost, it is an intimate relationship with Almighty God. For, when we believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Spirit comes to live within us, and we are united with Christ as in holy matrimony. We become his bride, and he becomes our husband. We are in him and he is in us. And, now he is our Lord and master and we are his own, his possession.
Secondly, faith in Jesus Christ is a lifestyle. For, when we believe in Jesus Christ, we die with him to sin and we live with him to righteousness. We have forsaken our former lifestyles of living to sin and self, and now we have chosen to walk in his ways and in his truth, in obedience to him.
The old has gone. The new has come. Now we walk in the way of righteousness and no longer in the way of our sinful flesh. Now our desire is for God, to do his will, and no longer do we live according to the lust of our sinful flesh. It doesn’t mean we are perfect people or that we will never sin again, but sin is no longer what we practice, and daily we are putting the deeds of the flesh to death in our lives by the Spirit of God.
Our relationship with our Lord is not a casual matter, though. He is not an add-on to our lives. He is our life! He determines our steps, not us. He decides what we will do or where we will go or what we will say, not us. Our devotion to him is not something we do 5 or 10 minutes a day, either. It is 24/7, all the time. Our souls yearn for him in the daytime and in the night, and we earnestly and consistently seek him and his counsel in every aspect of our lives. For, our desire is now for him, to do his will.
Isaiah 26:10-11 ESV
If favor is shown to the wicked,
he does not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
and does not see the majesty of the Lord.
O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.
It is true that the wicked take God’s grace for granted. If they are those who have had little suffering in their lives, and if so many things have been handed to them, and if it seems as though they are able to go on in their wickedness and nothing bad has yet happened to them, they don’t learn righteousness. For, they assume life will continue to go on as normal and that they can continue in their wickedness.
And, many of them are professers of faith in Jesus Christ, too, who are counting on heaven as their eternal destiny. For, they have bought into a lie which tells them that they can “believe” in Jesus, have heaven guaranteed them, and yet they can continue on in their sinful lifestyles while claiming that God’s grace covers it all. For, they believe their sin no longer matters to God and so they don’t have to repent of sin or obey the Lord.
They don’t see God for who he truly is, either. They have a false image of who God is implanted in their minds. Many treat God as though he is a doting grandfather or a genie in the sky there to grant their every request, but as though nothing is required of them at all, which is a slap in the face to God. For, they are trampling on God’s grace underfoot, and many of them don’t have a conscience about it, either.
So, the prayer here is that they would see God’s zeal for his people and be ashamed. And, we have a profound example of this zeal as recorded for us in the New Testament when Jesus overturned the tables of the merchants in the temple of God because they had turned God’s house into a marketplace. For, our God is holy, he is righteous and he is just. And, his desire for his people is that we walk with him in his righteousness and holiness.
Isaiah 26:12-15 ESV
O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
for you have indeed done for us all our works.
O Lord our God,
other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
They are dead, they will not live;
they are shades, they will not arise;
to that end you have visited them with destruction
and wiped out all remembrance of them.
But you have increased the nation, O Lord,
you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
you have enlarged all the borders of the land.
Prior to coming to faith in Jesus Christ we were lost in our sins, bound for hell, and without hope of salvation or eternal life with God. In our flesh there was not anything we could do to earn or to deserve our own salvation, too. We were separate from God and we all fell short of attaining God’s glory.
Yet, by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, who put sin to death on that cross, we were delivered out of our bondage to sin. The sin which once ruled over our lives no longer has dominion over our lives. Amen! But, now Jesus Christ is the ruler, the Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and our lives are given over to him to walk in his ways, and to do what he says to do.
But, this is not something we do in our own flesh. Only by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, can any of us be counted as righteous in God’s sight and can any of us walk in that righteousness and no longer according to the flesh. For, by faith in Jesus Christ, not only are we delivered out of our bondage to sin, but we are empowered of the Spirit of God to walk in obedience to his commands, for it is now God working his will in our lives.
As well, it is the Lord who helps us to mature in him, to grow in our faith, and to learn his ways. The Spirit of God counsels us, and he encourages and strengthens us so that we can obey the Lord. It isn’t us doing “good deeds” in order to earn our own salvation, but it is God working in our hearts and lives, as we cooperate with his work of grace, and as we yield to his sovereignty over our lives, that helps us to walk righteously before God. So, God is the one who is glorified and who receives all the honor and praise.
Knowing You Jesus / Graham Kendrick
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019