ESV Isaiah 45:22
(Adapted for print from notes taken during a message delivered recently by Barry King. Barry is pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Wood Green, London.)
The simplicity of the gospel is remarkable; “Look.” How simple. This word refers to Numbers 21and the story of the wandering nation in the wilderness. There, the people were commanded to “look” unto God. Now, through Isaiah, God commands again “look” to me for salvation. But Isaiah also prophetically points to John’s gospel where again we see the command to look unto God for salvation. This is the simplicity of the duty of all men to believe.
But there are some among us who would complicate the gospel by placing an overemphasis on either introspection or education. The command is to look, not to lament. Have I been under enough conviction? Am I lowly enough? Good questions perhaps, but the command is to look! Do I really know enough? Have I really fully understood the gospel? Is my grasp of theology comprehensive enough? Looking back on my salvation, I’m not sure I understood my sin correctly; perhaps I didn’t understand enough. Again, this confuses the simplicity of the command; look! Sometimes we create tension and imbalance in the hearts of people who hear us by confusing the simplicity of the command to simply look unto God.
The exclusivity of the gospel cannot be denied. “I am God and there is none else.” There is no other name but Christ by which men can be saved. We must confirm the exclusivity of this duty of all men to believe.
The gospel call is universal in that all the ends of the earth are to look unto God for salvation. The command and call is not just for Jews or Gentiles; it is for everyone. The God of the bible is not just the God of western religion. The gospel and command to believe is for the whole world!
With God, all things are possible. Many examples exist in scripture of commands that are impossible for men yet possible by the power of God and the command to look is no different. The man with a withered hand was commanded to stretch forth his hand; something a well man might do but not a man with a withered hand. But when Jesus commanded him, he extended his hand and it was well. What about “Lazarus come forth!” Dead men don’t walk from tombs, but Lazarus did what was impossible at Jesus’ bidding. And likewise even the worst sinner can be compelled to “look” through the power of the gospel call.
“If it is the duty of all to believe, [and it is of course,] it is our duty to preach the gospel to all men.” We must exercise and act on our responsibility to evangelize. Call it what you will; evangelizing, witnessing, etc.; you must share the gospel. We are to share the gospel intentionally. We should be praying for a lost world. “When is the last time you wept over your city?”
Ken worships at
Tharptown Baptist Church in Russellville. Comments are welcome and may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.