It’s a Choice to Be Set Free:: By Mark Susswein

It wouldn’t be all that difficult to take a few of the descriptive words spoken by the Prophet Isaiah and easily figure out what took place between God and His chosen people. A people who lacked understanding and knowledge of the Lord their God. As Isaiah wrote, “An ox knows its owner, And a donkey its master’s manger, But Israel does not know, My people do not understand” (Isaiah 1:3).

A word-picture for a nation who foolishly no longer feared the Lord comes into focus with the words rebellion; lack of understanding; sinful; iniquity; evil-doers; corrupt; estranged; sick; faint; desolate; fire; overthrown; besieged; Sodom and Gomorrah. Oh, there were also unholy sacrifices and offerings, but you get the idea. (See Isaiah 1:4-11.)

Israel, before it was divided into 2 kingdoms, was to be a holy nation and people. The people were far from that as they chose to remain far from the God of Israel.

The infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were used to compare Judah’s evil behavior to the Israelites, which was nothing to be proud of. It revealed exactly where they were in their relationship with God, and it wasn’t in a good place.

There is, or should be, very little doubt of why God was so harsh in His judgment upon His chosen people. The saddest part of all, judgment could have been avoided if only the nation would have repented. God patiently waited and waited for the people to turn back to the Lord their God, but they chose not to.

Israel, since her beginning, when God made them a nation unto Himself, was to be a model of faithfulness and obedience to the surrounding Gentile nations by adhering to the Law handed down from God to Moses. That, of course, was the Torah, the teaching of the Law, which contain the first 5 books of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible). Isaiah wasn’t giving a feel-good message on having ‘your best life now’ to the Kingdom of Judah. The message was a message of salvation, and that very same message is for the world today. It hasn’t changed, and neither has God.

Which brings up the question concerning our Savior. Why did God the Father send His one and only Son to come down from heaven to dwell with us on the earth?  John 3:16, of course. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

But, before we move on, let’s spend a moment or two on that verse.

Jesus came in the flesh, and before He departed this world, He promised the Holy Spirit would come to dwell within each of us who believed in Him. You and I, along with every believer, have all the proof we need as the Holy Spirit not only dwells within us, He has also been sealed in us. An encouraging verse for us is 1st John 4:1-3.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

That is not encouraging news for the lost.

Without the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin, died on a cross and was resurrected on the 3rd day, John is saying the unbeliever has followed the spirit of the anti-Christ. Harsh words for sure, but they are the truth. Without confessing and acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior, one cannot receive salvation. He is the only way. That is exactly the reason the Father sent His one and only Son to a lost world. A reliable witness on that matter wrote the following. Here’s John 1:14.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The belief we Christians have and maintain is that one day our mortality will be transformed to immortality. We, like Jesus, will one day be glorified. We will be perfected, or complete, if you will.

Jesus came in the flesh to eventually do what no one else could do; destroy whom we know as the adversary, Satan, who keeps the lost chained up in the bondages of sin.

He is both God’s adversary as well as ours. Jesus paid the ransom to free us from those chains by obediently sacrificing His own life. His precious, redeeming blood paid for our freedom. Look at what Jesus said in Mark 10:45.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

On that cross, Immanuel, God in the flesh, overcame death itself in order to give us eternal life. If you have a fear of death as I once did, there is absolutely no need to fear death anymore as we stand firm on Hebrews 2:14-15.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

Another encouraging scripture on Jesus’ victory over death comes from the Apostle Paul who quotes our man Isaiah in 1st Corinthians 15:54-55.

“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’”

Let’s always remember He is our King, He is our Lord, and praise His name. He is our Savior, and if that wasn’t enough, He is also our High Priest. We could go on and on describing all of what God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit does for us, but it would be a very long and time-consuming list. The list would go on and on and on. After all, the Godhead is eternal, having no beginning or end.

And to add one more thing to stand firm on: Jesus knows more about our pains and sufferings, whether they be physical or mental, better than anybody including Dr. Phil. Remember, Jesus came in the flesh to dwell within us. Immanuel was like one of us. Look at Hebrews 4:14-16.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

So, as we stay obedient to the Great Commission, let’s continue to remind the lost, no matter who they are, of the following: Jesus came in the flesh to save the lost at the expense of sacrificing His own life in obedience to the Father.

It’s very simple. The Son loves what the Father loves, and thus accepted the huge task of being the Savior of this world. Let’s continue to bring that message to the lost. A message that will save them from God’s wrath and spending eternity in the Lake of Fire.

And by the way, for those of you who boldly and courageously obey the Great Commission – when that lost friend or loved one, or whomever rejects the message of salvation, please remember this: They aren’t rejecting you: they’re rejecting God.

Bless You All,

Mark Susswein/