Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

What the Power of God to Save Means...Right Now

I am working on memorizing the following passage of Scripture this week (it is from the Fighter Verse program):

“Out of my distress I called on Yahweh; Yahweh answered me and set me free. Yahweh is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Yahweh is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in Yahweh than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:5-8, ESV).

As I am doing so, in my daily study of Isaiah, I came across the passages where the prophet is writing poems describing the Anointed One who is coming on behalf of Yahweh (e.g., Isaiah 61). And the picture he paints there is of One who desires, is joyfully committed to, and is equipped for bringing about the salvation that Yahweh has promised. In other words, this Anointed One sounds like someone setting people free, he looks an awful lot like a helper, he sounds trustworthy and capable.Alec Motyer puts not too fine a point on it:

How blithely we read that ‘for the joy that was set before Jesus, he endured the cross…’ (Hebrews 12:2)…Isaiah says it was the joy of saving us.
We think of the intended humiliation and actual pain of the crown of thorns, but to the Lord Jesus it was a bridegroom’s priestly head-dress (Isaiah 61:10). We picture the bedraggled and bloodstained seamless robe that he wore to Calvary, but to him it was a wedding garment! His Calvary-joy was wedding-day joy. He was winning his bride. Just as ‘we may not know, we cannot tell what pains he had to bear’, neither can we enter into that joy, but we can be awed by it; our hearts can be moved and our tears flow. 
This is how much we mean to him.
His wedding garments were ‘salvation’ and ‘righteousness’, says Isaiah (61:10). In the Bible, clothing speaks of capacity and commitment. When the Lord showed himself to Joshua as an armed man (Joshua 5:13), it was to display his warrior might and his commitment to win Yahweh’s wars. Jesus was dressed in ‘salvation’ because he alone has power to save (Acts 4:12) and because he is personally committed to the work of saving us (John 18:11; Hebrews 10:7,9)….
Jesus is all-perfect, all-sufficient — all-loving.
(Isaiah by the Day: A New Devotional Translation, p. 298, paragraphing mine)

My hope for today? For this moment right now?

That the power of God was exerted in Jesus to save me from every and ultimate distress. Because of Jesus, in his name, God answers me. Because of him, I am free, right now. Because of him, God is on my side. Because of him, I don’t have to be afraid today, or ever. Because of him, I trust in God over everyone and everything else. And Jesus, today, is the fulfillment of my every hope for refuge.

Thank you, God, for saving me.

A Meal with Jesus

The Joy of the Church is the Hope of the World