The Gift of Grace

(Today's post by Adam Cooper)

Isaiah 26-27

Another prophetic chapter from God through Isaiah about the rejoicing that will ensue when Jesus establishes His kingdom. Those who are righteous in the Lord, those who keep faith will enter the Lord’s kingdom. Those who trust in the Lord forever will enter the Lord’s kingdom. The haughty, or arrogant, will be laid low and the oppressed and poor will trample over their losses. Those who walk in the ways of the Lord will have a “level” walk means that even though there may be hardships along the way the rewards of the end, life in the Lord’s kingdom, makes the journey worthwhile. Isaiah reminds those that the Lord’s zeal for His people is uncompromising and the fire for His enemies is all consuming. In verses 12, I hazard to say that Isaiah is speaking of Christ. Is Christ the “peace” that Isaiah is speaking of? Is Christ the way God “enlarged the nation” and “extended the borders of the land”? Isaiah continues by making it clear that we, mankind, did not bring about any of this and that it was all God. God made a virgin pregnant and she gave birth to the Lord, the salvation of the earth – much like He gave birth to the people of the world.

In verse 19, Isaiah begins to speak of the resurrection. “Your dead” relates to those that are dead in Christ. It is also believed that verse 21 refers to the judgment when no one will be able to hide from God, whether they are dead or living.

Chapter 27 then takes a step into the end times by directly referring to the Leviathan, the serpent, and it being slain. According to the notes in my study Bible in ancient Arameanliterature the Leviathan referred to a seven headed monster that is symbolic of all evil. God is confirming through Isaiah that He will defeat all evil.

The vineyard mentioned in verse 2 I believe is a strong reference to Christ. I believe that John 15 makes this clear as well. Christ is the vine and through Christ His people will be fruitful and will flourish. Since Christ is God it makes since that God tells Isaiah that He “will water it continuously” and “guard it day and night.” Through Christ Israel will “take root” and “fill all the world with fruit” – I can’t help but think that this is a reference to the beginning and spread of the Church.

Verses 8-11 speak of the purification of Israel through war and exile. “People without understanding.” And the final verses of Chapter 27 speaks of Israel being reconciled and collected in God’s kingdom through their belief in Christ.

So how do we take the above information and make it something that can speak to us and our walk today? Let’s look at a couple of things: “lays the lofty city low”, “humbles those who dwell on high”, “levels it to the ground”, “casts it down to the dust”, “trample it down”, “writhed in pain”, “crushed to pieces”, “stands desolate”, “forsaken like the desert”, “twigs are dry”, and “broken off” – all of these statements are made to refer to those who DO NOT follow the commands of God. Those who are not righteous and steadfast. While on the other hand let’s look at these: “grace”, “zeal”, “shout for joy”, “perfect peace”, “fruitful”, “atoned for”, “removal of his sin”, and “compassion” – all of these are used to refer to those who DO remain steadfast and righteous in the ways of the Lord. When you decide to break it down and tie a nice little bow on it I guess I can say it best this way – which group of words would you rather be associated with? If we remain faithful and steadfast and righteous in the ways of the Lord we are promised all through Scripture fruit, compassion, zeal, joy, and GRACE.

Many words have penned about that last word – GRACE. It seems one of the most misunderstood words in all ofChristiandom and the topic of an entire blog series all to itself but if you simplify things it comes down to this – God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” No ifs, ands, or buts. Christ died for us.

While we open presents and get distracted by the materialism that the world has programmed into this holiday let us remember what we all need to remember: Christ was born on this day (nearabouts) over 2000 years ago and thirty three years (more or less)later died for us. There is nothing we can ever do to repay Him, no good that we can ever do that fixes what was done to Him, we were given a gift of God that truly embodies grace.

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