“In a flood of wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but I will have pity on you with everlasting kindness, says Jehovah your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:8).
This passage from Isaiah calls to remembrance Ephesians 2:1-10. It is good to be made alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5) since we had been dead for so long (Ephesians 2:3). In God’s everlasting mercy, kindness, and pity, the flood of His wrath was propitiated by the blood of His Son (cf. Romans 3:21-26):
1. When He became incarnate, Jesus Christ was made subject to the law of God and was obliged to obey all its precepts. He did this perfectly, to the minutest detail. [Psalm 40:8; Isa 50:5; Mat 3:15; 2Co 5:21; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14-15; 4:15; 7:26; 1Pe 2:22-23; 1Jo 3:4-5]
2. The consummate act of obedience that Jesus Christ paid to the law was in suffering the ultimate penalty for the disobedience of His people that the law demanded. Thus, while upon the cross, Jesus Christ, as a perfect representative, substitute, and sacrifice for His people, became a curse for His people and suffered the unmitigated fury of God the Father, which was equivalent to suffering the very pains of hell. This was not for any guilt He had contracted Himself but for the sins of His people. Their guilt was imputed to Him, and He suffered the penalty their sins deserved. His finished work on the cross appeased God’s wrath in full toward all for whom He died and paid the ransom price in full for all for whom He died, guaranteeing the salvation of all for whom He died. [Gen 22:13; Exo 12:3-13; Lev 16:21-22; 17:11; Psa 22:1-18; 32:1; Isa 53:1-12; Dan 9:24-26; Zec 13:7; Mat 26:28; 27:35-50; Mar 15:24-37; Luk 23:33-46; 24:46; Joh 11:49-52; 19:16-30; Act 17:3; 20:28; Rom 3:24-25; 5:6-11; 1Co 1:30; 5:7; 6:20; 15:3; 2Co 5:21; Gal 1:4; 2:20; 3:13; 4:5; Eph 1:7; 2:13-17; Col 1:14,20-22; 2:13-14; 1Th 5:10; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14; Heb 2:9-10,17; 9:12-14,26-28; 10:10-18; 13:12; 1Pe 1:18-19; 2:24; 3:18; 1Jo 1:7; 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Rev 1:5; 5:9]
3. The perfect righteousness that Jesus Christ established is imputed to every one of God’s people in time. Because of this imputed righteousness, they are declared blameless before God and reconciled to God. Christ’s righteousness imputed demands God’s favor and fellowship toward them. [Job 29:14; Psa 32:2; 85:10-11; Isa 53:11; 61:10; Jer 23:5-6; Rom 3:21-22; 4:6-8; 5:9-11,17-19; 8:1,31-39; 1Co 1:30; 2Co 5:18-21; Eph 5:25-27; Col 1:21-22; Tit 3:6-7]
4. The Father set His seal of approval upon the work of Jesus Christ on the cross by resurrecting Him from the dead and exalting Him to sit at the Father’s right hand. [Job 19:25-27; Psa 16:10; Luk 24:4-7; Act 1:22; 2:24-33; 3:15; 4:10,33; 5:31; 10:40; 13:30-37; 17:3,31; Rom 1:4; 4:24-25; 5:10; 6:4,9-10; 8:34; 10:9; 14:9; 1Co 15:20-28; 2Co 5:15; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1Th 1:10; 2Ti 2:8; Heb 1:3; 10:12; 12:2; 1Pe 1:21]
5. From there Jesus Christ rules and intercedes for His people until the day He judges the world and until the final enemy, death, is subdued beneath His feet. [Psa 96:13; 110:1,6; Mat 25:31-46; Act 10:42; 17:31; Rom 8:34; 2Co 5:10; 2Ti 4:1]
6. Those who deny the effectual work of Jesus Christ, claiming instead that the blood of Jesus Christ atoned for everyone without exception (including those in hell), deny the very heart of the gospel. They do not believe that it is the work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation; instead, these self-righteous boasters believe that it is the effort of the sinner that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. These blasphemers deny that Jesus Christ made full satisfaction for sins and that Jesus Christ accomplished and ensured salvation for all whom He represented. They trample underfoot the precious blood of Jesus Christ, treating it as something of no value. They glory and boast in themselves, for whatever one believes makes the difference between salvation and damnation is what one glories and boasts in. There is not a single one of these blasphemers who is a child of God. [Psa 25:14; 74:18; 94:4; 139:20; Pro 30:12-13; Isa 28:14-18; 42:8; 48:11; Joh 16:8-14; Rom 3:27-28; 4:2; 10:3; 16:17-18; 1Co 2:12; 2Co 10:3-6; Gal 1:8-9; 6:14; Eph 2:8-9; Phi 3:18-19; 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 3:2-5; 4:3-4; Heb 10:29; 1Jo 2:22-23; 4:6; 2Jo 9]
Relative to God’s EVERLASTING kindness and mercy, His face was hidden from us in our shameful days of unregeneracy only for a moment.
In the gospel we see the exceeding riches of His love and grace in light of His holiness, justice, and wrath. It is a truly awesome thing to contemplate His eternally enduring mercy:
“…to Him who struck Egypt in her first-born; for His mercy endures forever; and brought Israel out from among them; for His mercy endures forever; with a strong hand and a stretched out arm; for His mercy endures forever; to Him who divided the Sea of Reeds into parts; for His mercy endures forever; and made Israel pass through the middle of it; for His mercy endures forever; but shook Pharaoh and his army off in the Sea of Reeds; for His mercy endures forever; to Him who led His people in the wilderness; for His mercy endures forever; to Him who struck great kings; for His mercy endures forever; and killed majestic kings; for His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:10-18).
It is a wonderful thing to see how God’s striking of Egypt and His killing of great and majestic kings inspires us to think of mercy. It is the blood of the Passover Lamb where we witness mercy triumphing over judgment. It is the propitiating blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone that makes the difference between being struck down and being passed over. Praise be to God through His Son, Jesus Christ!
“He shall send from Heaven and save me; He will shame the one who crushes me. Selah. God shall send His mercy and His truth” (Psalm 57:3).
“The God of my mercy shall go before me; God shall let me see my desire on my enemies” (Psalm 59:10).
“And in Your mercy cut off my enemies; and exterminate all those who distress my soul; for I am Your servant” (Psalm 143:12).
“O man, He has declared to you what is good. And what does Jehovah require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
“Therefore, as elect ones of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassions, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving yourselves, if anyone has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also you should forgive. And above all these, love, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you also were called in one body, and be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and exhorting yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And everything, whatever you do in word or in work, do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:12-17).
“Who is a God like You, forgiving iniquity and passing by the transgression of the remnant of His possession? He does not make strong His anger forever, for He delights in grace. He will return to pity us; He will subdue our iniquities. Yea, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. You will give faithfulness to Jacob, kindness to Abraham, which You have sworn to our fathers from the days of old” (Micah 7:18-20).