The children of Israel in the days of Isaiah, the prophet, were in a unique situation never to be equaled again once Jesus Christ, their (our) Messiah, came to earth, died on a cross for the sins of the world, rose again, ascended back to heaven, and sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers.
They were the children of God, his people, by physical birth, because they were physical descendants of Abraham. They were both a physical nation of people plus they were the people of God. Yet, even though they were physical descendants of Abraham, and thus were God’s people by physical birth, not all believed in God, for not all walked in obedience to him, and thus not all entered into his eternal rest, either (See Heb. 3-4).
Today the nation of Israel, who are the people of God, are not a physical nation but a spiritual nation of people. And, we become God’s people, not by physical birth, but by spiritual birth. And, the same applies to both those who are Israelites (Jews) by natural birth and those who are Gentiles (non-Israelites) by natural birth, for the Lord has made us both one in Christ, by God-given faith in Jesus Christ (See Romans 9:6b-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22).
Isaiah 1:1-4 ESV
The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”
Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
So, to whom could this be applied today? I see two groups of people to whom this could possibly apply, though literally only to one group. The first group of people would be those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, who were walking in fellowship with their Lord, but at some point in time they drifted away. They fell away from their pure devotion to their Lord and they wandered off to follow after the gods of this world (See Revelation 2-3, the letters to the seven churches).
I also see the possibility that this could apply, though loosely, to those who were raised in the gatherings of the church, who have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, perhaps from early on in their lives, but who never accompanied their confession of faith with true repentance or with walks of obedience to their Lord. They mouthed empty words of faith in Jesus Christ for their lives never were surrendered to the Lord. For, this was the case with many of the Israelites of Isaiah’s day. Even though they were raised among God’s people, they never did walk in obedience to God.
But, fundamentally this is directed specifically to those who are God’s people, and today that would be only those who genuinely did believe in Jesus Christ, and who did repent of their sins, and who did walk in obedience to their Lord, but who have since rebelled against God, and who are now living in disobedience to their Lord and in utter wickedness, and who are despising their Lord who saved them out of their slavery to sin, for they are allowing themselves to be enslaved by sin all over again.
But, whether or not you truly ever believed in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of your life, if you are making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, yet you are walking in open rebellion against him, this message is for you:
Isaiah 1:10-15 ESV
Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.
“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Our Lord is not interested in false professions of faith in him or in empty forms of worship of him, especially if we are walking in rebellion against him and we are not obeying him and his commands. He doesn’t need our worship services if all they are are stage productions meant to attract the world to our gatherings, and if they are meant to entertain the masses so that the world will feel at home and comfortable in our meetings.
He is not interested in our prayers and in our Bible readings or Bible studies, either, if all we are doing is just going through the motions, and if what we are doing is not sincere, and if it is not being followed up with walks of obedience to our Lord. He doesn’t need our empty forms of worship of him if what we are doing behind closed doors is living in rebellion against him in immorality by engaging our minds and hearts with the filth of this world.
He is also not impressed by all our service projects or our giving or our time spent in Christian ministry if our hearts are far from him, and if we are not walking in obedience to him, but we are following after our own flesh and we are following after the patterns of this sinful world, and if we are following after the teachings of men rather than the teachings of our Lord. He is weary of our false worship of him, and he is saying, “STOP!!”
Isaiah 1:16-20 ESV
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
And, this is God’s remedy. If anyone is involved in false professions of faith in Jesus Christ which were never accompanied by genuine repentance and true walks of obedience to our Lord, or if anyone did walk in obedience to Christ, for a time, out of genuine faith in Christ, but has since fallen away from that pure devotion to Christ, and is now engaged in wickedness and immorality, the Lord is counseling you to repent of your sins and to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways.
And, true repentance means to desert (leave, abandon) your sins, to leave them behind you, to forsake them, to shake them off, and now to follow your Lord Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will and to his ways for your life. And, this also means cutting out of your life all that is leading you into sin, too, for many people go right back to old sinful patterns of behavior because they refuse to remove from their lives what is leading them to sin.
And, if we do truly repent of our sins, and we now walk in obedience to our Lord, the Lord will forgive us and he will cleanse us of all unrighteousness. But, we must know this. If we walk (in practice) according to the Spirit of God, in righteousness and holiness, in the power of God in our lives, then we have the hope of eternal life with God. But, if we walk (in practice, habitually) according to our sinful flesh, doing evil in God’s sight, then we don’t have the hope of eternal life, but a fearful expectation of hell.
So, don’t get cocky and think that just because you made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ that your sins no longer matter to God, and that they can no longer impact your eternal destiny. Scripture teaches that they can, if what you practice is according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit.
For, it is only as we walk according to the Spirit, and by the Spirit we are daily putting to death the deeds of the flesh, that we have the promise of eternal life with God. So, know the truth, believe the truth, and live the truth, for only then will you be truly free from your slavery to sin and will you have the hope of eternal life with God.
[See Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9.]
Only in Him
An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30
Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.
Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.
Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.
Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.
Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.
Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.
Saturday, November 9, 2019