By Kathi Pelton
Recently I have found myself overcome and overwhelmed at the immensity and great lengths that the grace of God is extended to mankind! As we look upon the world (and all of the happenings around the world) and consider what God has looked upon for thousands of years, it merely points to the immeasurable patience, love, and grace within His heart. I cannot stop thinking about His grace and how I cannot thank Him enough for dying to give us salvation through grace!
Then, this morning I woke up at 5:55 a.m. which always reminds me of the verse in Isaiah 55:5 that is all about the “grace of God given to the gentiles.”
“Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Isaiah 55:5
Nations and people groups— the gentiles— the ones found in the highways, byways, and country lanes, those hidden behind the hedges— will be urged to come. Some versions say, “Compell them to come.” Why? Because they will feel more like outcasts and unworthy to come to the wedding feast— but the grace of Jesus Christ says, “All are welcome!” There is room enough for all— the destitute and poor become the guests of honor.
“So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.” Luke 14:23
God’s intention has always been to bless all the nations of the earth. When Jesus came, He first invited His chosen people (the Jews) to come through the doorway of grace and receive Him as their Messiah, but many wouldn’t come (choosing to remain under the law of Moses). The Lord knew the gentiles were desperate for a Savior and for salvation through grace, so He “summoned them to come!” And they came “running to Him.” (Isaiah 55:5)
As I was studying “the grace of God” I came upon this quote by Bob Hoekstra,
“The law of God is unable to set us free from the domination of sin. It was never designed to do that. It was, however, designed to let us know what sin is and reveal our personal and individual proclivity towards sin. The law makes nothing perfect; it only demands perfection. Oh how that causes us to appreciate, to hunger for, to desire growth in the grace of God.”
The law of God (Moses) merely reveals to us that we all have fallen short and are slaves to sin, to our own depravity, so that we can run to the grace that sets us free! This grace truly takes my breath away and yet it is the very thing that breathes life back into all who receive it.
Recently my husband and I have been watching shows based on the history of our nation (Revolutionary War, Civil War, etc) and though there were heroic and beautiful things done during these times— some of the barbaric and horrific acts done by mankind against mankind made me realize that what we see in the nations today are nothing new; the current injustice and hatred and fear are historically what the human race looks like apart from the grace of God and the hope of salvation.
If we put Isaiah 55:5 together with Luke 14:23 we see the words, “summon them” (urgently call— like a 911 call) and “urge them” to come! Go to the most vile sinner and urge them to come to the rivers of grace to be washed in the love of Christ and dressed for the banquet!
Barnes’ notes on the Bible says this,
“So God is earnest in regard to the most polluted and vile. He commands his servants, his ministers, to ‘urge’ them to come, to ‘press’ on them the salvation of the gospel, and to use all the means in their power to bring into heaven poor and needy sinners.”
Therefore, should we be filling our mouths with judgements and hatred toward those who are acting out in the streets of our nation? Or should we recognize that, “But for the grace if God, there go I.” Shouldn’t we be summoning them to come, urging them to receive salvation, making a 911 call in prayer on their behalf. If we could only take the amount of time that people put into posting the reports of how horrific those in the highways and byways are acting and we went to urge them to come— maybe we would see the great harvest come in! If we would compell them, invite them, summon them maybe they would come through the door of grace (if only we would lead them there).
We must tell them! We must understand their need for grace! They need to be urged that there is a way where they see no way:
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” Romans 5:6
There is hope where they see no hope,
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:5
Let’s not forget where we once were, as we witness the depravity of mankind apart from God played out in the streets of America. May we ask God for the compassion that compels us to go and urges them to “come!”
“In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13
The grace of God is the hope for those who are raging against hopelessness. Hopelessness has taken their breath away but the grace of God will breathe life back into them, it will bring peace to the chaos, it will clear the confusion and set the captives free!
We need to understand one more vitally critical thing: the fullness of the Gentiles that will come to Christ will soften the hearts of the Jewish people and bring them to Christ!
“I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.”
Those raging in our streets may be the very ones that bring the “fullness of the gentiles to Christ.” We must be the voice of hope and lead them to the door of grace where Jesus urges them to come! There is so much at stake and we must be wise— stop raging against their rage and give them a door of hope (grace) to go through.
It is time! Grace to you—
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