No amount of good works can make us right with God. And just as we are saved by grace through faith, we are kept by that same grace. It’s all about grace!
Isaiah 41 & 42
Isaiah 41 & 42:
His care for the faithful
Chapter 41 was written to warn those in Israel, who persisted in idolatry, but also to encourage and comfort those who remained faithful to the One True God. Chapter 42 contains many prophesies about the Messiah. Jesus quoted from this chapter in Matthew 12 speaking about Himself (Matt. 12.17-21).
These passages are to encourage us to stay faithful to God, too. We may very well be approaching a time when God’s judgment becomes more and more apparent, but He will always care for His faithful remnant.
That isn’t to say things won’t get more difficult. But God’s grace will be there to get us through it, even when we don’t entirely escape from it. Remember that even though Daniel was faithful, he still was taken into captivity. But God used him, blessed him and protected him throughout.
Because of His mercy
Verses 26-27, “Help me, O LORD my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy, that they may know that this is Your hand—that You, LORD, have done it!”
Ultimately, that is the reason He saves and blesses us—because of His mercy toward us and so that He will receive glory. Our good and His glory are always working together (Rom. 8.28-29).
A fool and his consequences
Verse 3, “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back.”
Sometimes, the only thing a fool understands is consequences! A fool in God’s eyes is one who stubbornly refuses to obey God.
Saved by grace and kept by grace
Verse 21, “… if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.”
I touched on this a couple of days ago when I talked about how we are all legalists at heart. We are so prone to believe that if we are somehow just good enough, we can be right with God. So often when you ask people why they think they will go to heaven, they will say “because I’m a pretty good person. I’m not perfect, but I haven’t murdered anyone.”
But Romans tells us, “there is none righteous, no not one” (v. 10). We cannot be right with God on our own. As Jesus told us in John 3, we must be born again by the Spirit of God. We must accept Christ’s sacrifice and payment for our sin.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2.8-9).
Just as we are saved by grace through faith in the Son and what He did for us, so we are kept by the power of God, not by any works which we do. Ephesians 2.10 tells us that the fruit of a changed life will produce good works, but they cannot make us righteous. Good works flow from our righteousness in Him and our love for Him, but they cannot produce it.
The freedom in falling short of God’s standard relies on His gift of grace. Unfortunately, too many of us forget the free offer. We spend our lives basing our relationship with God on our performance rather than on Him. We see our identity as never being worthy of His love.
Isn’t it time to stop trying to measure up and begin accepting the transforming power of God’s grace?
The product of more than 10 years of Bible study, Navigator author Jerry Bridges’ Transforming Grace is a fountainhead of inspiration and renewal that will show you just how inexhaustible and generous God’s grace really is.
God’s compassion and pardon are utterly shocking in their lavish abundance—that’s a lesson God himself pounded into the epic life-story of one man who kept resisting in whatever way he could. Surprised by Grace retells that man’s true story—in a gripping presentation that will open readers’ eyes wider than ever to God’s relentless, purposeful, and inexhaustible grace.
The man’s name isn’t new to anyone. It’s Jonah, the famous Old Testament prophet. This fresh unfolding of his story seeks to recapture the staggering effect it had on those who first encountered it so many centuries ago—the same shock effect that’s desperately needed today among those who think they know God’s heart far better than they really do.
In a powerful journey through unforgettable events and imagery, Surprised by Grace reveals how relentlessly God pursues rebels (a category that ultimately includes everyone), though he has every right and plenty of reasons to give up on us all.
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