God’s Salvation Plan – Isaiah 56

1 Thus says the Lord:

“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.  Isaiah 56:1 NKJV

After hundreds of years of prophecy, God’s salvation plan was finally revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.  Through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, Jesus provides all the righteousness we need to atone for our sins and shortcomings in life.  Even if we wished to follow all of God’s commandments, we could never do so well enough to earn our righteousness and salvation.  It is a gift of God.

Though Isaiah prophesied about the righteousness to be obtained through the coming of Christ, he likely did not know all the specifics of the plan, just the various messages and images that God was giving him to share.  As Jesus later pointed out to His disciples,

for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.  Matthew 13:7 NKJV

Though we were given many details to look for by the prophets, God kept the specifics of His salvation plan a mystery until He determined that the time was right to reveal it to the world.  Such will likely also be the case for Christ’s second coming at the end of the age – we have been given many images and prophecies about those events to come, but exactly what it will look like and when it will all happen, we do not know.

The writer of Hebrews summarized God’s salvation plan at the beginning of his book.

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:1-3 NKJV

In Christ is found all the fullness of God.  He is the wellspring of our eternal lives and the co-author of creation itself.  In Him, all things hold together in power and love.  He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Nothing is here that did not come into existence through Him.

God began to lay out the righteous requirements for living when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments.  Few if any of us could keep these without failing.  Jesus raised the bar even more by telling us that it was not just doing wrong, but even thinking about and desiring to do wrong was just as bad as the actual act.  If we as a people failed to follow the law of Moses, how could we possibly have any hope of meeting these higher standards for even a day or a single hour?

Here is the good news: no one is able to successfully obey all these requirements, except God.  Jesus was able to live a sinless life, then He laid down His life for us as the innocent Lamb of God.  All of our failures, sins and shortcomings were nailed to the cross along with Him.  He bore all the punishment that we deserve for our sins and took it in our place.  He is so good and loving, it is a great privilege to have the opportunity to believe Him and to seek to follow Him in faith each day of our lives.

God has given us the complete plan of salvation.  After centuries of prophecy about its coming, it is here and available to all women and men.  Will you reach out for it in faith?

Reflection

What is preventing me from reaching out to Christ in faith?

Lord, we ask You to remove any barriers that are preventing us from accepting Your generous plan of salvation.  Perhaps someone said or did something to us, or some tragedy occurred in our life that, to this day, we blame on You.  Show us the truth about Your goodness and Your love for us and help us to walk in the brightness of Your glory.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

The Maker of the Universe

F. W. Pitt (1859-1943)

The Maker of the Universe

As man for man was made a curse;

The claims of laws which He had made,

Unto the uttermost He paid.

His holy fingers made the bough

Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow.

The nails that pierced his hands were mined

In secret places He designed;

He made the forests whence there sprung

The tree on which His body hung.

He died upon a cross of wood,

Yet made the hill on which it stood.

The sky that darkened o’er His head

By Him above the earth was spread;

The sun that hid from Him its face

By His decree was poised in space;

The spear that spilled His precious blood

Was tempered in the fires of God.

The grave in which His form was laid

Was hewn in rock His hands had made;

The throne on which He now appears

Was His from everlasting years;

But a new glory crowns His brow,

And every knee to Him shall bow.

F. W. Pitt (1859-1943)

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