Reading Time: 6 Minutes
The song that John Newton wrote in 1779 is one of the best known in history. I am sure you are quite familiar with his words.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Newton was a slave trader when he experienced God’s amazing grace during a violent storm at sea. God’s grace transformed him from being a slave trader to working for the abolition of slavery.
Grace is intended to change our inside condition and outward behavior to be like Jesus Christ. It did just that for Newton.
How about us? Is it possible to think lightly of God’s grace?
What happens when we take God’s grace for granted? What happens when we presume upon God’s favor and blessing and choose to live in rebellion and disobedience?
Isaiah’s message to God’s people in 700 B.C. cautions people against taking God’s mercy and grace for granted.
Repentance and Grace
God’s activity always calls for a response.
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1.15).
The presence of God’s kingdom is an act of his grace. When we believe that God’s activity among us is good news, we will change our minds and behavior.
We pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6.10).
The response to the presence of God’s kingdom is to ask ourselves, “If I were in heaven, what attitudes and actions would I have?”
Seven hundred years before Jesus delivered his message about God’s kingdom, Isaiah proclaimed God’s promise to Israel.
Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together,
and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed. (Isaiah 1.27-28)
Israel’s Redeemer graciously acted on their behalf to protect, deliver, and provide well-being for the nation.
A grateful nation was expected to be just and righteous in their dealings with one another.
An ungrateful people rebel against God’s principles. They forsake the Lord and prefer their own best thinking over God’s guidance.
God Versus Idols
It is important to note that God’s people never stopped religious activity. They continued to observe feast days, sacrifices, pilgrimages, and prayers.
At the same time, they served the Canaanite fertility god, Baal. Baal worship centered with gross practices often taking place among trees.
For you shall be ashamed of the oaks
in which you delighted;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen. (Isaiah 1.29)
It is fairly easy to see the deception when people turn from the True and Living God to worship a tree. It is more difficult to see how we might do something similar.
Is it possible to give more loyalty to money than to God? What about public opinion, power, likes on Instagram or Facebook, family, drugs, or opinions?
As we know, all of these issues and many more can be more important to us than our walk with God.
We become like who or what we worship. If we genuinely worship God, our behavior will be just and righteous.
If we strive for money, power, or public opinion, we may become unjust or unrighteous in serving the idol of our success.
How many injustices fill the earth, because people give their devotion to a false god?
God’s amazing grace saved a wretch like John Newton in more ways than from a storm at sea. Newton’s response was to change his mind and behavior about slavery.
God’s grace is designed to transform our lives. In what way has he transformed you?
About This Blog
Rudy Ross is an excellent student of Isaiah. Rudy and I have a video you can see on the Bob Spradling YouTube Chanel.
Rudy will bring a different dimension to Isaiah than what is in my blog. I hope you will check out and enjoy my interviews with him.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist prayer team will pray for you.