Pastor Steve Ellison Column: Come!
Do you feel judged, guilty, and alone in your helpless despair? If you are born-again, simply return to fellowship with your heavenly Father, casting your cares on Him who cares for you. If you have not been born-again, this feeling of guilt is a tremendous blessing from the Lord, because it crowds you to the only Solution.
There is no better encouragement, no better promise of real joy than Isaiah 55:1-5, Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. (ESV)
The word “come” appears four times in the first verse (4 of the first 19 words) and once in verse 3. With that sort of repetition, it is not hard to figure out the main point. God is revealing His inviting nature. He desires for us to come not to a place, a list of laws, or anything else but to Him.
That is good news for the broken-hearted and downcast, those who are thirsty for true forgiveness and cleansing of the guilty conscience. But wait, the news gets even better. Not only are we invited to come, but we are told in unequivocal terms that even though we are destitute and impoverished we can come with no cost to us.
The price has already been paid by Another. We are exhorted to turn away from the counterfeit gods of sinful pleasures that enslave us as well as the counterfeit god of attempting to earn our forgiveness through so-called good deeds. We are implored to come empty-handed and feast on the goodness of God as invited guests of His mercy and grace. His provisions are satisfying, good, delightful, and rich.
The passage is speaking in spiritual terms concerning forgiveness of sin and justification not material provision. It now gets explicit about that. Life for our souls is found in listening diligently and consistently to the God of the Bible.
Life comes from God. Life continues because of God’s continuing work. Eternal life is a theme of the Bible. It is the free gift of God to those who repent of sin and respond in faith to His invitation to come. This great news gets even greater in verse 5. The offer is made available not just to the nation God birthed in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but also to the Gentiles. Fantastically, this offer is available to any and all who are willing to receive it.
Verse 6 indicates that this most fabulous of all offers is a limited-time offer, Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon Him while he is near. (ESV) The terms never expire but the opportunity to enter into the agreement does expire. It must be done in faith not by sight. When a man dies and sees Christ, faith will no longer be possible. The knee will bow, and the tongue will confess but it will be done by sight not faith.