In America (USA), we are saturated with the Word of God. Bibles are sold nearly everywhere that books are sold, and the last that I looked, they could be rented from the public library, and some ministries even give them out for free. Scriptures are posted on billboards, on Facebook, on Twitter, and the Bible can be read in various translations on the internet free of charge.
As well, the Bible is preached on TV, on the radio, on the internet, and in church congregations freely throughout our nation, although not all who preach the Word of God preach it in truth, so we need to be discerning. And, the hymns of the faith, and gospel music, and Christian contemporary songs can be accessed freely on YouTube, on the radio, and on TV, as well, although not all songs called “Christian” teach the truths of the faith.
In America, as well, the majority of people, it would appear, refer to themselves as Christians and/or as believers in Jesus Christ. And, that is one of the reasons this nation has often been referred to as a “Christian nation,” although we, as a nation, do not live up to that description.
And, it is questionable, as well, as to what “god” is meant by the moto, “In God We Trust,” for what it means to trust in God is often far from the hearts of the people in this nation. But, the point here is that we, in America, are not lacking in access to God’s Word, including free access.
Isaiah 43:8-13 ESV
Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes,
who are deaf, yet have ears!
All the nations gather together,
and the peoples assemble.
Who among them can declare this,
and show us the former things?
Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right,
and let them hear and say, It is true.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor shall there be any after me.
I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.
Also henceforth I am he;
there is none who can deliver from my hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?”
The Israelites of the Old Testament were not lacking in access to God’s Word, either. God spoke to them often through his prophets. So, it wasn’t that they didn’t know the truth. It was that so many of them didn’t obey the truth that they knew, but that they chose to go their own way instead.
So, the people who were spiritually blind and deaf to God’s Word were not lacking in knowledge of the truth. They were lacking in obedience to the truth. And, that is a huge problem here in America, too.
The people had become idolatrous instead of following after the Lord and his commands. And, that, too, is a huge problem in American churches, as well. And, so God was challenging them here, and he is challenging us yet today to see who he is, for many have forgotten, or they have been stupefied by smooth talk and sugar-coated messages which give a false impression of who God really is.
There is no one who saves but God. Amen! There was no other god before God, and there will be none after him. He is the ONLY God, and only he can deliver us out of our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin. But, this is not just referring to God versus known foreign gods. For, many who profess to believe in the One True God are believing in a god they have made for themselves, that they or others have created for their own selfish purposes.
So, when God says he is the only God, he is also saying that he, who he really is, as is defined in his Word, is the only true God, according to scripture, not according to the imaginations of human beings in their deceitful scheming or in their twisted notions of who God is.
Isaiah 43:18-21 ESV
“Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.”
With regard to the gospel of our salvation from sin, we are to forget our former way of living when we believe in Jesus Christ. It is no longer to be how we live now that we have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. For, our salvation is not merely forgiveness of sins and a promise of heaven when we die. Our salvation is deliverance from our bondage to sin, and it is empowerment of the Spirit of God to now live for our Lord, in obedience to his commands.
So, this forgetting of the former things, in relation to our salvation from sin, has to do with us leaving our former lifestyles of sin behind us, and us turning to now follow Jesus Christ with our lives, to walk in his ways and in his truth. For, when Jesus saves us from our sins, he also delivers us from our old lives of living for sin and self, and he gives us new lives in him, to now be lived for him and for his righteousness. Out with the old! In with the new! This is what it means to be “born again.”
For, the new way of the cross and of salvation from sin is so that we might honor God with our lives, and that our lives, how we live them, might be for his praise. Yet, so many people have altered this gospel message to make it all about us, and what we want, rather than to make it about God and us living for him. For, his blood shed on the cross for our sins was not just to forgive us our sins, but it was so we would now be His possession, and so that we would now live for him and honor him with our lifestyles.
Isaiah 43:22-24 ESV
“Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
or wearied you with frankincense.
You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
you have wearied me with your iniquities.”
And, this is a serious problem in the church today in America, as well, for so many have bought into a “cheap grace” gospel which leaves people still bound in their sin while giving them a false hope of heaven when they die. And, so “believers” in Jesus have this false idea that salvation from sin means solely that Jesus took their punishment for their sin so that they are now free to live however they want without guilt or fear of punishment.
And, so many who profess the name of Jesus today here in America are actually wearying Jesus with their sins while they think that God no longer even sees when they sin against him or that it doesn’t matter to God that they keep on in their sinful practices. For, he didn’t save us merely to give us an escape from hell and the promise of heaven, but he saved us to deliver us out of our addictions (practices) of sinning against him.
So, the Lord is reminding those who profess his name today, but who have taken this notion that they can keep on in their sinful practices without consequence, that his Word teaches the opposite of that notion. Yes, he is a gracious God! Yes, he is a forgiving God! But, he is also a just God, and he is a God of His Word, and he will do what his Word says he will do.
For, his Word does not teach a salvation from sin absent of true repentance and walks of obedience to our Lord. His Word teaches that it is only those who are no longer walking according to the flesh, but who are walking (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the Spirit, who have eternal life with God and the hope of heaven when they die. And, his Word teaches, too, that if we continue in our sinful practices (lifestyles) that we are going to die in our sins without hope of heaven, but with a fearful expectation of hell.
So, don’t be fooled! God’s Word will prove to be true. And, many will stand before him one day convinced they are going to heaven only to hear, “Depart from me! I never knew you!” So, know the truth, believe the truth, and obey the truth, and you will have the assurance of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-24; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Words and music by Jack P. Scholfield, 1911
I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
His love is ever true;
I love to tell how He lifted me
And what His grace can do for you.
He saves me from every sin and harm,
Secures my soul each day;
I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm;
I know He’ll guide me all the way.
When poor and needy and all alone,
In love He said to me,
“Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
To live with Me eternally.”
Saved by His pow’r divine,
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For I’m saved, saved, saved!
*Copyright status is at Public Domain