Isaiah 45:21
Speak up and present your case--yes, let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, the LORD? There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is none but Me.
Sermons
Just and SavingR. Tuck Isaiah 45:21
God, Israel, and the WorldE. Johnson Isaiah 45:18-25
How God Reveals HimselfC. Short, M. A.Isaiah 45:18-25
Jehovah: His Nature and PurposesE. Johnson Isaiah 45:18-25
The Reasonableness of God's ProcedureProf. G. A. Smith, D. D.Isaiah 45:18-25
A Just God and a SaviourE. L. Hull, B. A.Isaiah 45:21-22
Look unto MeA. Roberts, M. A.Isaiah 45:21-22
Looking unto Jesus, the Only SaviourD. Rees.Isaiah 45:21-22
The Highest Glory of the Divine CharacterThe EvangelistIsaiah 45:21-22
The Just God and the SaviourD. Dickson, D. D.Isaiah 45:21-22
Our Great Hope: a Missionary SermonW. Clarkson Isaiah 45:21-25


The view of the prophet is "exceeding broad." He sees that which is "afar off." He looks across the countries and across the centuries, and he has a more glorious vision than statesman ever pictured, than poet ever dreamed. We look at this -

I. OUR SUPREME HOPE FOR THE HUMAN WORLD. Isaiah has before his mind a time when "all the ends of the earth will be saved;" when "every knee will bow" to God, and every tongue solemnly invoke his holy Name; when men shall "come to him" in adoration and in thanksgiving. This is our heart's most profound desire, our soul's highest hope. We do not want our nation to subdue every other to servitude and subsidy. We do not want our form of faith or polity to swallow up every other form. We do want mankind to know God, to approach him in pure worship, to bless him for his fatherly love, to glory in his goodness, to submit to his righteous sway, to rejoice in him as the One that saves from sin and restores to righteousness. When, beneath every sky, speaking every language, with all possible varieties of custom and civilization, men everywhere shall honour the one holy Lord and rejoice in the same righteous Redeemer, the supreme hope for the world will be fulfilled. But we have to consider -

II. THE DELAY IN ITS FULFILMENT. The Israelites returned from captivity, and entered again on a course of national freedom and Divine worship in the holy place; the Lord "did great things for them, whereof they were glad." But nothing happened then or in subsequent days in Jerusalem or in Judaea which could be said to be a realization of this glorious vision. Jerusalem perished and Israel was scattered, while the prophecy remained unfulfilled. Jesus Christ came and formed his Church; that Church grew and throve, overturning the idolatries with which it contended. It has been making its way in the world, and, during the last century, has made substantial progress. But the world is very far indeed from having attained to the condition which is here foretold. The prophetic word waits to be fulfilled; there is a long delay in the realization of our supreme hope. But let us gladly turn to -

III. OUR CONFIDENCE IN A VICTORIOUS RESULT. It rests on three things.

1. The triumphs which have been already gained. These are very great, and they are exactly proportionate to the purity of the doctrine which has been taught and the zeal of the Churches which has been shown, With Christ's truth taught as it came from him and from his inspired apostles, and with the Churches of Christ as much in earnest as they have been during this century, the advance will be sure and swift..

2. The strong word of Divine promise. "I have sworn by myself... that unto me," etc.; "I, if I be lifted up from the earth," etc.; "All power is given unto me... go ye therefore," etc.

3. The fitness of the gospel of Christ for the necessities of men. It provides:

(1) A sense of forgiveness of sin. "Be justified."

(2) The possession of moral excellency "Righteousness."

(3) Spiritual power to resist temptation. "Strength."

(4) Joy of heart, showing itself in praise. "Shall glory."

IV. OUR PRIVILEGE AND DUTY IN RELATION TO IT. Since there is, indeed, such a hope for mankind, since that is to be the final issue of all strife and suffering and toil, let each nation, each Church, each family, each Christian man, see to it that its (his) contribution is forthcoming, so that, when the fields arc ripe, it (he) may have a share in the joy of harvest. - C.









A Just God and a Saviour.
To human apprehension, light and darkness are not more opposed than justice and mercy. We cannot conceive how they possibly can meet together. But God's ways are not our ways; He is "a just God," leaving not the smallest possibility of escape for the smallest sin; and He is" a Saviour," freely and completely pardoning the most atrocious sinner.

I. GOD IS A JUST GOD. The law of God is holy, and just, and good. It is man's plain, reasonable, bounden duty to obey these commandments; and when he fails in the performance of that duty, it is a righteous thing on the part of God to punish him. Some, indeed, have objected to this principle, and have supported their objection by perverting the Scripture doctrine of original sin, alleging that, if man's natural corruption render guilt inevitable, it is unjust in God to punish him for that guilt. To meet this objection in a plain practical manner, we would reply that, before any individual can reasonably plead this excuse in his own case, he must be able to prove that he has never been guilty of any transgression, except those only which were rendered inevitable by his original corruption; for the moment that he knowingly and wilfully breaks the law of God in any one instance, it becomes a righteous thing in the Lawgiver to inflict upon him the threatened punishment.

II. GOD IN CHRIST IS A JUST GOD AND A SAVIOUR Jesus Christ is an adequate substitute for the sinner. Every impediment to the most unbounded exercise of mercy being thus righteously removed, the invitation is given forth in all its blessed broadness and fulness unto all lands, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth."

(D. Dickson, D. D.)

The Evangelist.
I. These words present, in part at least, AN ASPECT OF APPALLING TERROR — "a just God." It is necessary to attend to this with becoming reverence and awe. Some deny it, or overlook it, regarding nothing but His mercy, and forgetting, that there could be no occasion for the exercise of mercy did not His justice consign guilty men to punishment.

1. The fallen angels who have been cast down from their first estate, and are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the last day, are monuments of His avenging justice. Adam and his transgressing partner exiled from Paradise, and that paradise accursed for their sakes; the inhabitants of the world before the flood, with the exception of a single family, swept away into a watery grave by a single stroke; Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain overwhelmed by a torrent of liquid fire from the skies; Mount Sinai itself with its clouded summit and trembling base, its flashing lightnings, its rolling thunders, and trumpet voices, all bespeak the terrors of that inflexible justice which overlooks no sin of men or angels, and suffers no transgression against the eternal authority and sovereignty of God to go unpunished.

2. Consider further what proofs are afforded of the justice of God in His dispensations with the offending race of men. The lot of the progenitor has now become that of all his posterity; and man everywhere is a suffering and dying creature, because he is everywhere a sinner. Consider the awful calamities which have attended the human race, from the first generations to the present.

3. These proofs of Divine justice may be further strengthened and enlarged by considering the very method He has chosen for displaying His mercy. Is He not a just God? Let the agonies of His beloved Son declare — let the cross of Jesus stand as a witness.

II. THE DEEP AND GLORIOUS MYSTERY which, under another view, these words present. This glorious mystery consists in the union of these two characters in the one God of revelation — two characters which it appeared were hostile to each other — two characters which no other system ever did or ever could reconcile — and the difficulty of reconciling which has led some to deny the one, and some to deny the other. The mystery ties in the union of these two perfections of the Divine nature, justice and mercy — and in their united exercise towards the same sinful creatures. This the Gospel fully develops in the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God, in His substituted obedience, His voluntary submission, His vicarious sacrifice.

III. These words possess AN ASPECT OF DIVINE COMFORT FOR THE SOUL OF MAN.

1. The comfort depends on your reception of the salvation, which is essentially a salvation from sin, in all those respects in which it has affected our nature, whether by guilt, pollution, degradation, or separation from God.

2. This Divine comfort is open to all.

3. The comfort never fails — never fluctuates — will accompany through life, and abound even in death — when all other sources of comfort fail.

(The Evangelist.)

I. The grand truth is manifestly this — that THERE IS IN GOD AN EVERLASTING HARMONY BETWEEN THE JUST AND THE MERCIFUL. He is just, not in opposition to salvation, but because He is a Saviour. He is a Saviour, not in opposition to justice, but because He is justice seeking to save.

1. Let us mark the ground on which Isaiah founded that mighty truth, the supreme and solitary sovereignty of God — "I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is none beside Me." He had looked over the conflict of nations and the decay of empires, and seen one eternal God causing all to work His will. Realise that vision of God, and then the idea that He needs reconciling to Himself must instantly fall: for if God's justice needs reconciling to His mercy, then we have two Gods, the just and the merciful; and it is no longer true that He is God, "beside whom there is none else." Realise this, and the idea of the atonement which represents Christ as simply appeasing God the just and inducing Him to be merciful, passes away. God needs no reconciling to Himself: justice is in everlasting union with mercy.

2. Let us ask what is God's justice, and what His salvation? and then we shall see how they are in perfect harmony. God's justice is not merely the infliction of penalty; God's salvation is not merely deliverance from penalty. It is true that He does execute penalty and award retribution. We see it in the stern laws of life by which one error brings down life-long sorrow; one true effort reaps, inevitably, its blessed reward. There is a just God over all, for men ever reap just what they sow. But justice in God is something far grander than the mere exercise of retribution; it is the love of eternal truth, purity, righteousness; and the penalties of untruth, impurity, unrighteousness, are the outflashings of that holy anger which is founded in His love of the right, the pure, and the true. In the same way, God s salvation is more than the mere deliverance from penalty. It is, at the same time, the deliverance from evil, salvation from the cruel lusts of wrong; from the bondage of unholy passions growing into the giant-life of eternity; from the deep degradation and horrible selfishness of sin. Here, then, we see how His justice and His salvation are in perfect harmony. His salvation is to free men from the penalties of justice by making them righteous, true, and holy in Christ.

3. Take now one step further. Take the two great revelations of law and mercy, and we shall see how the law is merciful and mercy holy.(1) The law, the revelation of justice, came to lead men to God the Saviour.(a) The sense of immortality. Man, feeling that life is bounded by the present, will never be freed from evil. But sin destroys the sense of immortality, confines him to the narrow circle of the earth, and dares him to look beyond. Under its influence man forgets the grandeur of his nature, sinks into a mere animal, and becomes the slave of material things. To awaken him there is no other voice so powerful as that of the law he cannot obey — a law majestic in purity, and thundering penalties on transgression. The Divine voice in the law speaks to him, making him feel that he is greater than material things — greater than his sinful idols. He asks: Why does it mark out me? And the awful Sinai of conscience awakens at that voice, and the man feels the sublimity of his nature; and there is the beginning of salvation.(b) The sense of sin as a power in life. The voice of law shows him that in him is the power which the just God hates in holy anger. Cursing evil, it curses him. Thus law is the revelation of God the Saviour. Before its awful majesty and impossible claims man learns the weakness, and slavery, and horror of sin; and is prepared to accept the mercy that delivers him.(2) Christ, the revelation of God the Saviour, came to glorify God the just. The righteousness of God never was so revealed as in the loving Saviour of the world. Mount Sinai is less terrible than the purity of the man of Nazareth. Men felt it as they said, "Depart from us for we are sinful." Look now at His sufferings. Nothing could tear Him from them — nothing alter His course. Where is there a greater revelation of the righteousness of God? In the garden, the pure and holy One shudders at the contact with sin. Where can we see the awfulness of holiness so sublimely revealed as in that passion of woe? The just God was in the Saviour. Mark now the consummate power of Christ crucified; and what is it but a power rousing men to be holy as God is holy? Sin never was so slain as by Him whom sin slew. The law never was so attested as by Him who bore its penalty.

II. We infer TWO LESSONS from this great truth.

1. The necessity of Christian endeavour. We are justified at once; for the germ of a righteous manhood exists in the first act of faith. But the realisation of it is progressive. The Christian ideal is to be as Christ was, faithful, holy, and undefiled. Every day we have untruthfulness, selfishness, unbelief, to overcome.

2. The ground of Christian trust. Some men find security in the belief that they are delivered from the stern awards of justice. But we are not delivered from God's purity, we are reconciled to it. In the justice of God lies our confidence now, for He will make us righteous and holy in Christ. And this gives us hope in the midst of life's discipline, and explains much of its mystery. The object of His discipline is not to make us happy simply, but to train us into holiness, which is blessedness. There are men who trust in the infinite mercy of God, and feel that He will deliver them at last. Remember, that to remain in unbelief is to adopt the spirit which killed Christ. To refuse His salvation is to challenge the holy indignation of the Most High.

(E. L. Hull, B. A.)

Consider —

I. How GOD IS JUST. He will not deal unfairly with His creatures. He will not ascribe a single sin to them which they have not committed. He will not punish them beyond what their iniquities deserve.

II. HOW HE IS AT THE SAME TIME A SAVIOUR.

III. WHAT IS THE INVITATION WHICH HE ADDRESSES TO A RUINED WORLD. Mark —

1. To whom it is addressed. "All the ends of the earth." How broad an invitation! Who is there who can say, "I am not called"?

2. What does He invite us all to do? "Look unto Me!" "Behold Me with the eye of faith, as 'the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!' 'Look unto Me' as your refuge, your resource, your hope, your confidence your almighty, all-sufficient, only Saviour! 'Look unto Me' for life, for pardon, for righteousness, for peace on earth, for heavenly happiness hereafter! 'Look unto Me,' by looking off from every object of your carnal confidence, from every vain deceitful hope which you have invented for yourselves, and by placing your entire, unbounded trust in the merits of My Cross!"

3. And what spiritual benefit shall that look of faith procure to them? "Be ye saved." Are there not those that look for mercy even though they look not unto Jesus? Consider seriously that expression, "There is none beside Me" — "A just God and a Saviour." Ye that are looking unto Him for salvation! remember that, in the very act by which the Lord hath delivered you from death He hath shown you also His horror and His hatred of your sins.

(A. Roberts, M. A.)

I. THE GRACIOUS INVITATION. Notice —

1. The benevolent Being by whom the invitation is given.

2. To whom it is addressed. Not to the Jews only, but also to the Gentiles: to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people.

3. What is implied in the invitation.

(1)The state of those to whom it is addressed.

(2)That there is no obstacle whatever in the way of salvation.

4. What the invitation calls upon us to do in order to secure our salvation. "Look unto Me." In our natural state we are all looking from Him; and even when we are convinced of our lost condition, how prone we are to look to anything rather than to Him for salvation — our repentance, our obedience, our duties, our morality, our usefulness! What. then, is meant by looking to Him? It signifies the same thing with believing in Him.

II. THE POWERFUL REASONS BY WHICH THAT INVITATION IS ENFORCED.

1. He is God.

2. A just God.

3. A gracious God, for He is a Saviour.

4. The only God, and consequently the only Saviour.

(D. Rees.)

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