Fear Not, For I Am With Thee: The Believer’s Confidence

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Isaiah 43:1-13

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  (2)  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  (3)  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.  (4)  Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.  (5)  Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.  (6)  I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,  (7)  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  (8)  Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears!  (9)  All the nations gather together, and the peoples assemble. Who among them can declare this, and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right, and let them hear and say, It is true.  (10)  “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.  (11)  I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.  (12)  I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.  (13)  Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”

Outline

V1. But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

A. “O Jacob, O Israel” – In light of the global context of this passage, it is clear that God is not speaking to national Israel. Rather, God is here speaking to His elect children from every corner of the earth, those from all nations. Consider a few other passages where the same titles are applied to those who are truly redeemed by God for His own glory:

Isaiah 44:21-23  Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.  (22)  I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.  (23)  Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.

Isaiah 45:17-19  But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.  (18)  For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other.  (19)  I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.

Malachi 3:6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

B. “ I have redeemed you” – Not with the blood of bulls and goats, nor through the works of your own sinful hands, but with the blood of Christ!

Galatians 3:10-14  For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  (11)  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”  (12)  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”  (13)  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—  (14)  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

C. “I have called you by name” – God calls his children personally in the preaching of the Gospel! This text is clear evidence of particular redeeming grace because God’s elect are called by name!

Rom 8:28-30  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  (29)  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  (30)  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

D. “You are Mine” – God personally redeems His people by and through the shed blood of Christ Jesus. We are redeemed. We are called by name. What will become of our relationship with God. Will He ever let us go or will our faith ever be made forfeit? Can we lose our salvation? The answer from God’s own Word is NO! “You are mine,” says the Lord! Praise his Name forevermore.

John 17:9-10  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.  (10)  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

E. “Fear Not!” – We do not fear because we are redeemed. We do not fear because we are personally drawn by the Father, given to the Son, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. We do not fear because we belong to God and Christ is glorified in our very salvation!

If you believe a man can be genuinely saved, made to partake of the grace and mercy of Christ in saving fullness, only to be lost again at some later point, you must believe, among many other heresies, that Christ Himself forfeits His own glory!

But the Gospel of our salvation, the Gospel of God’s Free and Sovereign Grace, comforts the believer. “Fear Not!” Know that our redemption is a personal matter with God, as he calls us by name! Know that we are his possession, and that Christ’s perfect sacrifice is glorified in the sheep of his pasture.

VV. 2-7 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  (3)  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.  (4)  Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.  (5)  Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.  (6)  I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,  (7)  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

A. No matter the trials of life, God will hold His people fast! The waters rage, and Christ says, “peace, be still!” The fiery trials flare up. But Peter reminds us that God uses the fiery seasons of life for our good and for His own glory:

1 Peter 1:6-7  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  (7)  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The flames of fiery trials will not consume us. Oh no! God is with us. In Him we remain steadfast under every sort of trial. Pressed but not crushed, struck down but not destroyed! Hallelujah!

B. “I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you” – God promises to bring in His elect from every corner of the globe! Notice the certainty in the prophet’s writing: “I WILL bring.” Again, the sovereignty of God in the salvation of His people is clearly on display yet again. God does not merely wait for people to choose Him. No! God brings His people in from every kindred, nation, tribe, and tongue! God says to the north, “do not withhold! Who will be saved? Isaiah declares that “everyone who is called by My name” will be saved by the power of Almighty God. Sovereign Grace is the only Gospel!

VV. 8,9 Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears!  (9)  All the nations gather together, and the peoples assemble. Who among them can declare this, and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right, and let them hear and say, It is true.

A. Isaiah calls out the powerless heathen gods of the surrounding nations. They all have eyes, but are blind to the salvation of the One true God of heaven and earth. They have ears, yet are deaf to the glad tidings of God’s redemptive plan and purpose. Moreover, their false gods have no power to deliver them, to tell the future, or to do any mighty deeds.

B. The heathen trust in dead works for their righteousness. They have no witnesses to argue their case in the court of God’s justice. Their end will be destruction. God’s people have full assurance and confidence because these are the blessings of God in Christ. Apart from these true and faithful assurances, nothing is promised but destruction.

VV. 10-13 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.  (11)  I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.  (12)  I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.  (13)  Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”

A. “You are My witnesses” – Redeemed, called personally, eternally kept by the power of God: We are God’s purchased possession, loved of the Lord so much that He sent Christ to fulfill all righteousness for us by His death on the cross. We are exhorted to testify to the truth of the Gospel of God’s free and Sovereign Grace. We have a commission to carry forth as Christians, to share Christ’s finished work in the proclamation of the Gospel. Far and wide, we must spread the Gospel. Let it be our labor of love!

B. “I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior” – The exclusivity of the Gospel is clearly presented in both the Old and New Testaments. There aren’t “many ways to God.” There is one way. This way is Christ, who self-identified as “The Way, the Truth, and the Life!” No one comes to the Father, except by Christ.

C. “I work, and who can turn it back?” – God in Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Our confident hope rests entirely in Christ’s finished work. What’s more, if salvation be the work of God, who can turn it back? No one can! Praise the Lord for the confidence and assurance that is wrought by and through the Gospel of Christ.


Jason K. Boothe is Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. For more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit www.horizonsbaptist.org.

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