Category Archives: Isaiah

“The occasion of God’s renewing comfort is our failure” by Ray Ortlund

“There is an end to the disciplines of God. Faith is not all struggle. It is also release and hope and new beginnings.

God’s deepest intention toward us is comfort. How could it be otherwise?

If the focus of Christianity were our sins, our future would shut down. But in fact Christianity is all about the saving grace of God.

He overrules our stupidity with His own absolute pardon through the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Do we sin? Yes. Do we suffer for it? Yes. Is that where God leaves us? No.

When His discipline has done its good work, God comes back to us with overflowing comfort. See in God not a frown but a smile, not distance but nearness.

Even when we don’t act like the people of God, He still identifies with us: ‘… My people… your God.’ (Isaiah 40:1) He stills calls us ‘Jerusalem,’ even when we’re far away in exile. (Isaiah 40:2)

Do you have glad expectations of God? You may, even as a sinner.

Do you see God as coming down to you as you are, with your mission still unfulfilled, but with His renewing mercies? You may and you must see God that way, or you’ll get no traction for holiness.

The Bible says that God’s kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). John Calvin explains that no one will ever reverence God but he who is confident that God is favorable toward him.

The occasion of God’s renewing comfort is our failure.”

–Raymond Ortlund Jr., Isaiah: God Saves Sinners (Preaching the Word) (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005), 235.

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