Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Difference and Dignity of all Creation
“But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
Paul Apple has an excellent introduction to Isaiah 35: When we are away from home for any extended period of time, our hearts long for a return to our very own home where we belong, a place of joy and refreshment, a place of love and security because our home is the right place where our hearts desire to live.
Isaiah known as the Prince of Prophet was an intelligent and influential prophet during Judah’s affluent times. Isaiah prophesied to a nation that had turned a deaf ear to the Lord by offering meaningless sacrifices in God’s temple at Jerusalem and committed injustices throughout the nation. The people of Judah turned their backs on God and alienated themselves from God, which created the need for Isaiah’s pronouncements of judgment. What a great Prophet he was during his time! He delivered a hard message but that was his calling.
Isaiah 35 stands as a testament of hope in the Lord, an everlasting Kingdom with new creations. This chapter has a stark contrast to the bleak picture of slaughter and desolation in the preceding chapter as the Lord, judges the land of Edom. Verse 10 of Chapter 35 is a prepared place, designed for God’s redeemed people, those who have accepted God’s free gift of His Son. Isaiah predicted the coming of the Messiah, who would redeem His people from their sins followed by their ultimate salvation. Jesus died to deliver us from our sins and introduce us to a new life of holiness. We see God’s faithfulness to His promise that will preserve a small remnant of faithful believers.
What is our conviction about Heaven? Our treasure is laid in Heaven. This world is not ours we are just passing through, we are temporary here and our earth is not our permanent home. Heaven is for real, as our Heavenly Father is there (Acts 1:11). Heaven is a prepared place for us (John14:1-3). Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians3:20). Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).
In heaven we will have a face-to-face, exclusive relationship with our Savior, gloriously enjoyed without interruption or heartaches or grief or sin or the threat of death. God promised that He would make all things new in heaven. It is the future joy in the presence of our Redeemer. Heaven will be the destiny of those who take God at His Word, believing in His son, Jesus Christ, and coming by faith, to salvation … without cost. Can something this good really be free? We can decide by reading these Scripture verses:
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one may boast.”
Romans 3:24 “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
Yes, salvation comes to us “free and clear” of any hidden charges or religious deeds or human effort. We come to God through Christ…. lost, sinful, without hope, and deserving of hell. In grace, He sees us in Christ and in grace loves us, forgives us, accepts us into His family, and promises us an eternal home with Him in heaven, the ultimate destination of all His people. Salvation is the single most important issue in all of life. Yet, if we are not careful, we will put it off until later; we will even put it completely out of our minds. Salvation is an urgent matter and it is for you and me!
Father God, we thank for your promises of Heaven; for you are the joy of our hope. Help us to reflect on Your eternal glory. We long for the day when You will make all things new and to be in your presence for ever and ever. Amen!
Thought for the Day
One day God will make His home with us and we will commune with Him, see Him, and Know Him in a way we can only dream about now!
St. John’s Mar Thoma Church, New York