Isaiah 26:13-14 ESV
“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.”
What is “another lord”? Well, the word “Lord,” in this context, is the word “master,” and literally this is saying that other “masters” besides our Lord God have ruled over us. They have had dominion over us. But now only the name of our Lord is what we bring to remembrance.
So, before we trusted in Jesus Christ with God-given faith to be our ONLY Lord and Master, we were living under the dominion of Satan, the flesh, and sin. They had control over our lives. They ruled supreme. They controlled our thoughts and our actions. We obeyed them, not God.
But when we came to faith in Jesus Christ, we died with Christ to sin, we were reborn of the Spirit of God, and we were given new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness.
Yet, this death to sin is not a one-time deal. Scripture teaches that we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, as a continual course of action. And, we must be walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and not according to our flesh (Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26).
We don’t do this in our own flesh, though, but in the power of God’s Spirit. But we still live in flesh bodies, so we still are tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin. So, if we get lax in these spiritual disciplines, we may fall back into sin and other masters may rule us again.
And, this is why we have the bulk of the teachings we have in the New Testament written to the church, to warn, to correct, to counsel, to urge, and to encourage steadfastness of faith, the putting on of the armor of God, and the resisting of Satan, fleeing temptation, and submission to Christ as Lord.
For, it is possible for a true believer in Jesus to fall back into sin. We have examples of this in the New Testament, especially in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. Five of the seven of them were rebuked by Jesus for things that were wrong with their Christian lives.
And, so they needed to repent of their sins, even though they were already His church, because, in some areas, they had drifted away from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ, and they had let “other gods” (masters) rule over them again. If they did not repent, though, he would bring judgment.
Isaiah 26:15 ESV
“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.”
This reminds me of the teaching in the New Testament where Paul was talking about division in the church, and how people were showing favoritism to one servant of the Lord over another. Paul told them that they were all servants of the Lord, just with different responsibilities.
He said that one planted, another watered, but it was God who gave the increase. Amen! (1 Co 3:6-9)
The word translated “increase” means “to grow,” “to become greater.” Now, this can be a reference to the number of followers of Jesus that had increased, or it could be a reference to spiritual growth (maturity), as a result of this planting the seed of truth in people’s hearts and others sharing it or teaching it in a way to help others to grow to maturity in Christ.
When we are taught the Scriptures properly, either as part of our initial introduction to the Word of God, or as our ongoing training in the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will convict of sin, he will teach us truth, and he will show us what things need to be forsaken and what needs to be developed (nurtured) in our lives.
So, whether we forsook our previous masters at the moment of faith in Jesus and we never went back to any of them, or if after we forsook them we eventually went back to some of them, for a time, if we repent of our sin, and we turn from it, and we follow Jesus wholeheartedly, those previous masters will no longer be a memory in our lives.
And, the Lord will not only mature us in our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord, but then we will have an impact on others’ lives so that they, too, can forsake those “other lords,” so that they no longer rule over them, and so that they are now completely forsaken and forgotten. Amen!
Isaiah 26:20-21 ESV
“Come, my people, enter your chambers,
and shut your doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until the fury has passed by.
For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity,
and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it,
and will no more cover its slain.”
There are many people today, many of them pastors, who claim Jesus Christ as Savior and as Lord of their lives, but they have never genuinely repented of sin, never submitted to Christ as Lord, and they have never walked in obedience to their Lord, because they believe they don’t have to.
Then, there are those who do believe in repentance, which is more an initial confession of sin, not a turning away from sin, who believe they can say some magic words to “receive Christ,” and that it guarantees them heaven when they die, regardless of how they live their lives on this earth.
Then, there are those who say they believe in the true gospel of salvation from sin, who will proclaim we must repent (leave our lives of sin) and walk in obedience to our Lord, but their lifestyles haven’t backed up what they say they believe. For, they are still being controlled by the flesh, not by the Spirit.
Even though they all believe (or proclaim to believe) they are saved, yet according to Scripture, none of them have eternal life with God, because they are not walking according to the Spirit, but they are still walking according to the flesh – always have. Their hearts were never transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin to walking in holiness and righteousness.
They are still living for the lusts of the flesh, doing what their evil hearts desire, living to please themselves and not God. And, this means they are living lives opposed to God and opposed to his true gospel. And, God will bring judgment upon them, although most don’t accept that idea.
As we near the return of Christ, the bulk of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are convinced they are going to be raptured and that they will not have to face judgment. But read Revelation. It was written to the church, not to the world. The seven letters were written to the churches, not to the world, and they were warned of judgment if they did not repent.
And, then in Revelation we have the declarations of judgment on the earth, and the saints of God are being persecuted and put to death for their faith in Jesus Christ during the tribulation. So, don’t be surprised if you don’t get raptured and you face judgment, instead, because the bulk of today’s church, at least here in America, is still living to the flesh and not to God.
For, the truth of the gospel of our salvation is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24).
All The Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
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