This Week's Focus Passage

John 12:41 ‘These things said Isaiah, because he saw his glory, and he spake of him.’

This Old Testament reference is found in the book of the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 6. The passage from the prophet contains a remarkable vision given him, a vision which has captured the minds and hearts of hymn-writers and the people of God over the centuries as a glorious demonstration of the Lord, high and lifted up and being worshipped by those grand creatures around His throne. It is surely no coincidence that it is the apostle John who records a scene in the Revelation given to him, and being virtually identical with that which he here relates from Isaiah. We are in this place given perhaps the best portrayal of the pure worship of God as will be found anywhere in the Holy Scriptures. We witness pure worship here from sinless creatures of God, praising the absolutely perfect, holy, and blessed, living and true God over all, as they cry ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’ This is the representation, as well, witnessed in the above-mentioned reference to the Revelation given John on Patmos in the fourth chapter. These four living creatures refer back, as it were, to Isaiah’s vision when they speak of ‘the Lord God, the Almighty,’ who was, and as Him being the Now, saying, ‘who is,’ and equally of the future, declaring that it is He, ‘who is to come.’ This is no more than an underscoring of the Name of Jesus when we are reminded that He is, ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever.’

We should indeed be led to understand that John has been guided by the Holy Spirit to refer to this vision given Isaiah as betokening the Christ of the Old Testament. John was also among the privileged apostles acquainted with the Savior during the days of His flesh. Being the last witness, he is led to prophesy from Patmos, and to declare that his Man is coming again. We serve a Savior that not only came in the fullness of time, but One who was in the beginning with the Father, and One who will be coming to take His people to Himself. He is not only God manifested in the flesh but, according to Proverbs eight, He was with the Father when the heavens were established. He was, ‘by him, as a master workman; and I [He] was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.’ These realities were disclosed by Jesus when it became necessary for Him to teach the Jews that ‘your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.’ (John 8:56). What in fact, did this patriarch see? Paul speaks to this matter in his epistle to the churches in Galatia, when he says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.’ Just what was it that Abraham believed? Abraham believed the Scripture, did he not; the Scripture that ‘preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, in thee shall all the nations be blessed.’—the gospel that would justify the Gentiles by faith, because they that are of faith [will be] blessed with faithful Abraham.’ ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree; that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.’ This is the gospel preached by Paul! This is the gospel that the Scripture preached to Abraham!

Peter spoke of this in his first sermon on that glorious day of Pentecost recorded in Acts two. He declared to those ‘men of Israel,’ vs. 22, ‘to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.’ vs. 39. Paedo-baptists insist that the promise here spoken of involves the bringing of their children into the covenant by way of baptism; that the faith of believing parents constitutes a right and, more than that, a responsibility to see to it that their infants are baptized into the body of the covenant; the church. But Peter says nothing of the kind! He has preached the gospel of the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ unto the men before him, concluding with the exhortation that if they repent, and demonstrate their belief, that is their faith, in this gospel by being ‘baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ,’ they shall receive ‘the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ This is the promise given to faith! It is promised to the Gentiles, all that are afar off, even, or only, ‘as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.’ This promise is given to children of Jews and Gentiles alike, that if they repent and believe, they will likewise receive remission of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is only to those whom the Lord shall call, ‘them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom he foreordained, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.’ Romans 8:28-30. This is a glorious chain that not only cannot be broken, but men cannot add to it any ‘links’ of their own making, such as infant baptism.

There are indeed promises given to parents to encourage the bringing up of our ‘children in the fear and admonition of the Lord,’ and, ‘training them up in the way they should go,’ but there are not to be found any promises to parents that their children will thus certainly be inheritors of the kingdom of God. We may, and should, employ all the God-given means at our disposal in order to set the feet of those put under our tuition on the paths of righteousness, but it is the exclusive prerogative of a sovereign God to regenerate their hearts; to cause them to be born again of the Spirit, to grant the gifts of repentance and faith. He only and ultimately can bring them to Himself through the satisfaction of the life and death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet we may know through faith and the indwelling Holy Spirit that God delights in mercy; that His angels rejoice over one sinner that comes to repent, and that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He is our heavenly Father who does all things well; it is ours to pray unto, and trust in, such a One as He has declared Himself to be. We, who have seen, with Isaiah, His glory, shall continue to do so through faith.

David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church


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