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The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon wrote a book with the title, “All of Grace.” The title summarizes an enormous truth about God’s love that all we receive from God is grace.
Like Spurgeon, Isaiah was a preacher of grace. He spoke for God and revealed God’s heart of love and grace for humans.
Human pride is quite deceptive. It can masquerade as self-sufficiency or even religious activity. God has a message in Isaiah for people who are proud of their religious activity.
Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,
or honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with offerings,
or wearied you with frankincense.
You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
you have wearied me with your iniquities. (Isaiah 43.22-24)
Dr. Findley Edge once said in a meeting I attended, “The average churchgoer believes that all there is to following Jesus is being good, giving your money, and coming to church.”
Of the average Hebrew in Isaiah’s day, it could have been said, “The average worshiper believes all that is necessary is saying prayers and bringing to the Temple the proper sacrifices.”
Both then and now, religious activity can feel burdensome or tiring. One of my neighbors in another church slept through every one of my sermons. On a particular Sunday, I knew all was lost when he was snoring before the sermon started.
Even energetic worshipers often miss God’s plans, when they go through the motions of religion, but continue in sin and iniquity.
As the author of this article, I must plead guilty to what I am writing. I know how to look religious, but I also burden God with my sins and weary him with iniquity.
Praise God, there is an answer to this condition. God answers our sin problem with his loving grace.
The Answer: Grace
Paul was the champion of grace. He taught the truth: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5.20).
When Isaiah spoke for God, he wrote,
I, I am He
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43.25)
In the face of our failure, God states his plan to forgive our transgressions. He begins his loving message with the powerful name, I AM.
Only God can remove the guilt of our rebellious behavior. He says, “I AM,” and we say “He is” the One who loves us and forgives every wrong we have committed.
John affirmed this truth and wrote, “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1.9).
Pride and rebellion that are mingled with self-deceiving religious activity are forgiven by the grace of God.
An authentic response to God’s grace is to humbly receive God’s love and forgiveness. Praise is the natural result of the guilt that is remembered no more.
Rejection of Grace
What is sadly true about grace is our willingness to reject it.
We all know someone who claims to believe in God but refuses to ask for his forgiveness. It may be that they compare themselves to other people and think that they are OK.
Other people have asked for God’s forgiveness, but have refused to forgive themselves.
The best choice for everyone is to ask God to forgive our sins and to rejoice in his goodness. In that way, we learn by experience the grace of God.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.
I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.
Please email your prayer requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.