“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22
We live in a world where most people look unto themselves for salvation, success, fame, and prosperity. But Isaiah understood that the only true salvation comes from God. It was in a small Methodist church that Charles Spurgeon would hear the words of Isaiah 45:22 for the first time and have his life changed forever.
Just as Martin Luther had struggled with guilt and a feeling of being lost so did the young boy Charles Spurgeon. Yet, from these few words spoken by a forgotten country preacher Spurgeon’s heart would be changed and the grace of Christ would come to dwell within his heart. The result would impact not only Spurgeon, but also all of Victorian England and reverberate down to our own day. Charles Spurgeon would go on to be one of the greatest preachers in the history of the Church and one of the most influential people of the entire Victorian age.
Spurgeon understood that salvation came when he “turned” to Christ. So our question is what must we turn away from? The answer is fairly easy. We must turn away from everything else that we think will bring us salvation.
I want to be really clear about this. No one is entering into a relationship with God through the church they attend, their good works, or determination. Salvation doesn’t come any other way than trusting by faith in the gracious gift of redemption provided freely through Christ.
This is the good news of the Bible. You and I do not have to live a guilt ridden life because of our past sins and failures. We are forgiven and our sins erased when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior.
Acts 3:19-20 remind us, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.” The idea of our sins being wiped out is the analogy of chalk being erased from a pure slate tablet. Once erased the words written in chalk are gone forever and can never come back to threaten us again. This is Biblical forgiveness.
If we turn from our fears, discouragements, guilt, and shame God will forgive us and we will be saved. This is called repentance and has the idea of turning around from going in one direction and then going in another. When we turn from trying to be good enough for God and when we turn from our fear that we will never be good enough we have confessed our need and repented.
We live in a pluralistic society where political correctness says that all religions lead to the same place and it is offensive to declare one faith as greater than any other. What really counts is that whatever faith you follow is good for you and works for you.
Spurgeon, Luther, Wesley, Taylor, Zwingli, Moody, Graham, Sister Theresa, and the countless martyr’s throughout the ages would disagree, however. They understood that redemption is offered freely by a gracious God who came to this earth and laid His life down in an unselfish act of love that we might be given the Kingdom of God.
Too many Christians believe that the Father was angry at us and Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary was an appeasement, but that isn’t so. Jesus died for us not in order to make the Father accept us, but He gave His life freely out of love because the Father already loved us. No other religion in the world believes this. For the other great faiths of our world the idea is that humanity must climb up through deeds, accomplishments, rituals, and works to earn God’s approval. Only Christianity believes in a God who came down to us and gave everything for us. Only Christianity teaches we are saved by no action of ourselves but instead, by the pure love of God.
Isaiah 45:22 reminds us, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth.” Salvation is not just for a select few but it is the gift given to all the world. I am not sure how this message of pure grace is going to reach the entire world, but it will. And the reason it will is found in the last part of the text, “for I am God, and there is no other.”
Put your faith and trust in God that He loves you and longs to have you home again. Let all the guilt, shame, and discouragement float out into the night air and simply say, “Here I am God, I put my faith and trust in you.” Yes, it is that simple to find redemption and freedom from the curse of sin and fear.
We truly are blessed to be loved by such an awesome God!