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.”
This city being spoken of here is not a physical city, for its walls and its fortification are our salvation from sin which Jesus provided for us on the cross of Calvary. This is a spiritual city, the city of God, which is not physical Jerusalem, but which is the church, the body of Christ.
And, when I say “church,” I don’t mean physical buildings or church denominations or businesses or corporations called “church,” but which are not the church. The church is comprised of all believers in Jesus who have died with Christ to sin that they might live to his righteousness.
The door to this city is Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Jesus unless the Father first draws him to Jesus. And no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. He is the only way to God and to life everlasting with God in glory.
And the way in which we enter into this city is by faith in Jesus Christ. But that faith is not human faith, and so it is not defined by humans, either. For, this faith is divinely persuaded, and it is gifted to us by God, and since it comes from God, it submits to Jesus as Lord.
Since this faith means to be persuaded by God as to his divine will and purpose for our lives, this faith has us being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin to God. So, this faith will repent of sin and will walk in obedience to our Lord in the power of God.
We cannot enter into relationship with Almighty God or be saved from our sins or have eternal life with God absent of this faith which surrenders to Christ as Lord, which repents of sin, and which walks in obedience to Christ (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
When we have entered into relationship with Jesus Christ and to his salvation by his grace, through this God-given faith, our sins are forgiven, we are promised eternal life for the one believing (present tense) in him, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and we have peace with God.
We are no longer the enemies of God for we are no longer enslaved to sin, for Jesus has now delivered us out of our slavery to sin that we might now becomes slaves (servants) of his righteousness and holiness. But now we must keep our minds fixed on Jesus and remain in him.
Isaiah 26:4-6 ESV
“Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
For he has humbled
the inhabitants of the height,
the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.”
As we read in the book of Revelations, chapters 2 and 3, we find that it is possible for the church to stray from the Lord and to need repentance and renewed faith and trust in the Lord. Thus, all throughout the New Testament we are given warnings to the church to not stray from God.
We are warned by the New Testament apostles that we are to remain in Christ, to remain in his word, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to put on the armor of God, to prepare our minds for action, and to put up guards in our hearts and minds against sin.
We are instructed in the ways of the Lord over again, and we are taught over again to put off all that is earthly and worldly and of this flesh and to put on Christ and his righteousness and holiness so we can run the race God has marked out for us with perseverance.
And, we are told that the Lord disciplines, chastises and rebukes those he loves, so we are strongly encouraged to throw off all sin which entangles us and all hindrances to our walks of faith and to repent and obey the Lord if we have wandered from our pure devotion to him.
And, in the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelations, and also in other New Testament books, we are warned that if we don’t repent, and if we keep going our own way, that God will visit us in judgment and in divine correction and chastisement.
And I believe that is where the church, at least in America, is today. For, the church at large in America has wandered far from the Lord and has gone the way of the world and big business and is following men over God and the ways of men over the ways of God.
So, I believe all the unrest, chaos, upheaval, and absolute craziness that is going on now in our nation and in our government and with the virus and its restrictions on the gatherings of the church are all part of God’s judgment on his church in order to bring her to repentance and obedient faith.
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.”
It is true that the path of the righteous is level, and He makes level our path. But by “righteous” is not meant all who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but all who are in genuine relationship with Jesus Christ by faith in Jesus via repentance, obedient faith, and submission to him as Lord (Rom 6:1-23).
But this is not something we do or even can do in our own flesh. We cannot be righteous in God’s sight by anything we do in our flesh. Only by faith in Jesus Christ and empowered of the Spirit of God via new birth in Christ can any of us live righteously in uprightness and godliness to God’s glory.
But, when we do trust in Jesus Christ, it should change how we think, what we believe, and what we do. We were bound in sin under the control of sin and Satan. That should be past. Now that we are in Christ, by faith in Jesus Christ, we should be free from slavery to sin, and we should be walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Rom 8:1-17).
Now our souls should yearn for our Lord day and night. Our desire should now be for him and not for ourselves. Our goal in life should be to please our Lord in all our ways and to walk in obedience to his commands and to his divine will and purpose for our lives.
We don’t just set aside a few minutes for the Lord each day for prayer and devotions, but he is to be our life! We are to see Jesus not just as our Savior but as our Lord (owner-master) and ourselves as belonging to him, and for us to be for his praise and glory in honoring him with our lives.
We should be “on call” with our Lord 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for he is not going to ask us to do anything which he will not supply all that we need to do it. He knows our schedules, too, but our schedules should be submitted to him, too.
We need to be those who earnestly seek our Lord, to know his will for our lives, to hear from him what he has for us, and to follow him wherever he leads us. He needs to be our “all in all” and not just someone to supplement our lives with good things.
So, the purpose of his judgments is that we might learn righteousness, that we might seek the Lord, and follow Jesus in surrender to his will. And it is that we might repent of all sin and now walk in his holiness, daily putting sin to death, by the Spirit, and daily walking by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.