If Favor is Shown to the Wicked

Isaiah 26:1-3 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.’”

The city of God now is His church, but not a building built by human hands, and not a church denomination, and not a business or a corporation of men. It is a city with salvation as its walls and as its fortifications (its defenses). For, it is us who believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives.

So, the gates to this city are not physical doors into physical buildings. Jesus Christ is the door to this city. He is the only way, truth, and life. No one comes to God the Father except through faith in Jesus Christ. Only through genuine faith in Jesus Christ can anyone enter this city.

So, who can enter into this city? Only the righteous who keep faith may enter. But, doesn’t that sound like “works-based salvation”? Perhaps, until we actually study the Scriptures and we understand what it means to believe in Jesus and to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God.

For, the Scriptures teach salvation, not as a one-time event in our lives, then we live our lives, and then we go to heaven when we die. They teach salvation as continuous throughout our lives. We were saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns.

Not only that, but the Scriptures teach that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, they teach that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26).

The righteousness we have comes from God, and not from ourselves, but it is a righteousness which must be appropriated to our lives, by faith in Jesus Christ. But that faith is not stagnant. It is not a thought or a feeling or a religious concept. Faith is action. It is putting feet to what you say you believe.

Thus, genuine faith in Jesus Christ leads the believer to die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness, empowered by the Spirit of God.

But this is not just once. This is daily surrender to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and daily, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh and walking according to the Spirit (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

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.”

And, here is the clincher! God’s favor to us is his grace to us. If God’s favor is shown to the wicked who do not honor God for the holy God he is, but who take his grace for granted, and him for granted, thinking that his grace gives them free license to continue living in sin, then they don’t learn righteousness.

Let me give you an example of this kind of grace that is popularized today by many people. Max Lucado, a famous pastor, author, and writer of devotionals, teaches this kind of grace where the wicked do not learn righteousness, and many people listen to him and follow the lies (1).

This kind of grace he is teaching is the kind that puts the focus on us and not on God, which honors us, and not God, which speaks of God being enthralled with us, and not of us being enthralled with God. It is all self-focused, and it is all about what God can do for us and it has nothing to do with us walking in the fear of the Lord.

Max’s idea of salvation is merely the receiving of God’s affection. No repentance, no submission to Christ as Lord, and no obedience to the Lord’s commands. To him, righteousness is more a state of being rather than action. Nothing is required of the receiver of this (cheap) grace.

He also teaches that God’s grace to us is a one-time gift of forgiveness of sin, because of Jesus’ one-time sacrifice of his blood shed for us on that cross, and that it is a lifetime of God’s presence and of God’s devotion to us. To him, it is all about God forgiving us of our sins, but not about us turning away from our sins and now walking in obedience to our Lord. It is about God being devoted to us, not about us being devoted to God.

Although he encourages doing right and not doing wrong, there is no teaching of his that instructs us that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. In fact, in another writing (speaking/teaching) of his, he pretty much described God’s grace as free license to continue sinning (2).

The message that he gave was that we could accept God’s grace into our lives, and then we could keep on in our sinful practices now without guilt, and without fear of punishment, because Jesus paid it all. But that is a misrepresentation of God’s grace to us.

For, God’s grace does not liberate us so we can go on sinning without guilt. His grace delivers us out of our prisons of sin, and it empowers us to live holy and godly lives in Christ’s righteousness. But this is not optional. We must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God.

[1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]

Enough for My God

By G. M. Eldridge

In God is the light, the brightest day.
He taught me to walk the narrow way,
Yet still I chose the path that was broad:
O, how could I be enough for my God?

With mercy so sweet, He led me along.
He held my hand, and gave me a song,
Yet still I sinned, a shameful fraud:
O, how could I be enough for my God?

I never had dreamed the day I’d see
the Son of God, who died for me,
Yet here by His side, I stand in awe:
Washed by His blood, enough for my God.

And who could forgive all the sins and the flaws?
O, how could I be enough for my God?
But gently He’ll lead by staff and by rod,
And help me to be enough for my God.

I just want to be Enough for You, God!

*Caution: This link may contain ads

*Used by Permission

(1) https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/162972-max-lucado-brian-orme-why-grace-is-not-good-enough-for-us-legalism-cheap-grace-undeserved.html

(2) http://www.sermonillustrator.org/illustrator/sermon6/cancelled_insurance.htm

2 thoughts on “If Favor is Shown to the Wicked

  1. These are good thoughts Sue. I know the Hagia Sophia is being turned into a mosque. I tell myself that God’s church is NOT a building and that He resides in his people, the church. It gives me great comfort during this time!

    Liked by 1 person

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