Nearly 700 years before Jesus came into the world, the prophet Isaiah described the Salvation which God would offer to the world and the fact that it would be completely His work and none of man’s efforts or works. .
Isaiah 59:16b He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.
Isaiah speaks of the Messiah as the only way by which any person may be saved.
“Therefore His own arm brought salvation.”
Unfortunately, a majority of people who have lived upon the earth do not like a plan of salvation which does not recognize their efforts or reward their obedience. We have this idea as human beings that we can work and perform good in order to be accepted and loved by other human beings. We tend to carry this idea over to our relationship with God, who surely will accept a person who is basically good or does good works.
According to the words of God, this idea is wrong.
The actions of redemption rest solely with the Lord and not with man. We do not have the capacity to redeem ourselves, according to the word of God. This principle makes it clear for us that no church, no religion, no man, has the ability to meet the requirements set forth by the law of God for salvation to take place.
The “arm” spoken of by Isaiah’s prophecy is the Messiah. This is a term that Isaiah has used before in describing the work and ministry of the Messiah, in Chapter 53.
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
The Messiah is the method by which God will redeem the world and offer salvation to each individual person. Jesus as the Messiah has been the arm of the Lord, before He became the Savior of the world. He was the arm, the method by which God created the entire universe. He will be the arm whereby all judgment for the earth will be committed at the end of this present age.
If any of us will find redemption, it must be by a sovereign act of the Living God. If God does not act to save us, then we will be as the angels who sinned and were found with no second chance for redemption. Thankfully, God did act. In the councils of heaven, the Son of God stepped forward to offer Himself as the redeemer of all men.
Salvation is of the Lord; it is not within the reach of any human being to redeem themselves. No good deeds can change the sin record that is already written in our book. If there is but one sin on our record, then we are disqualified for eternal life—for the law of God requires that each person keep all of the law and not fail at any single point. To fail in keeping any single part of the law is to break the whole law.
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
Since every person has, at the very least, told a lie at some point in their life (9th commandment), therefore, we have all broken this law and are all guilty of breaking the whole law of God.
Christians love to tell others that Jesus did not come to condemn the world. What many often fail to include is that the whole world was already under the condemnation of God for their sins, and awaiting judgement. Jesus did not come to add condemnation to us; He came to offer a solution.
John 3:17-18 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Jesus came to make His life a sacrifice that would fully extract us from our sins and remove them from our record. Jesus’ death paid the penalty that was due, thereby removing all future judgement from those who receive Jesus as their Savior.
“His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.”
Any person can be saved who can bring himself to a point of agreement with God that they are a sinner and accept that this status cannot change unless God would help. If, however, a person loves his sin and is unwilling to turn away from from them and come to God, it is impossible for the Lord to save him. At the very least, the basis and foundation of salvation is repentance and a sincere heart that sincerely wants to be forgiven. It is useless to try and convince a person to come to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, until they hate those sins and want to be liberated from them.
Jesus said that the real reason that most people will not come to Him is because they love their sin. It is not that Jesus is undesirable and the thought of eternal life is not attractive. The problem is that sin is ingrained into our life so deeply that it is nearly impossible for us to extract ourselves from it. The problem is not with the Lord’s ability to free us but with our own unwillingness to turn from our sins.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
“Light” is the message that Jesus can save us, if we are willing to come to Him. “Darkness,” is the life of sin and self-will which prevents us from coming to Jesus Christ in repentance.
Repentance: “A change of the will and actions of a person due to sincere sorrow for their sins, along with a complete turning to God for salvation.”
After 39 years of trying to tell people about Jesus, I have heard just about every excuse for why a person cannot come to the Lord and be saved. I can tell you that all of these reasons are really only empty excuses. The real obstacle that prevents many people from coming to Jesus for their salvation is due to a difficulty that John describes here in chapter 3 verse 19: People love their sin (darkness) more than they love the thought of turning from those sins and surrendering to Jesus as their Savior (light).
All of the objections for why a person will not receive Jesus as their Savior can be traced back to one underlying problem: people love their sin and they do not want to change.
For example (there are hundreds more):
Excuse: “I don’t believe that there is evidence for the existence of God.”
Answer: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” —Romans 1:20-21
God has made himself known by all the things that exist in the universe which prove that He exists. The greatest proof of God is creation itself, and all people know this inherently in their heart, so that they are without a valid excuse to claim that God does not exist.
Real reason: A person who claims that God does not exist does so because they believe that if they can convince themselves that God does not exist, they can live anyway they chose without guilt. Evidence of this is observed by many who claim to be Atheists and claim to not believe in God, yet constantly feel the need to go on the offensive against those who do believe in God and convince them that God does not exist. In reality, what they are subconsciously attempting to do is to convince themselves that God does not exist, even though they know that He does.
Problem: A denial of God’s existence doesn’t work. All of us have an inner awareness that God exists because He made us with this knowledge. Second, all people have a conscience that reminds us constantly the difference between right and wrong.
This is why God says repeatedly that a person who claims to believe that there is no God is a “fool,” because all of the evidence is contrary to this statement.
Psalms 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
A practical example
While writing a large portion of this book, my wife and I spent about 9 months in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Before departing for the Philippines to continue our work of ministry to the poor of Bantayan Island, I wanted to finish the writing and publication of this book. The apartment that we leased during this term has several people as residents, who live their lives in exact fulfillment of the words of Jesus, in John 3:19. Every day, my heart was broken for the desolation that these dear souls endured. A few are alcoholics who are so addicted to their drug of choice, that they will certainly perish from their addiction. A young man who lived near us had acquired a severe condition of his Pancreas, at just 40 years of age, due to his excessive drinking. The doctor told him that if he does not stop drinking, he will soon die. I would have thought that upon returning from the hospital where he nearly perished, that he would cease from drinking alcohol ever again. Unfortunately, this young man still drinks almost every day. I fear that by the time this book reaches publication, he will no longer be amongst the living. I spoke often with this couple, and told them about the Love of God and His ability to set us free from all our addictions, to a new life of freedom and joy. Not once in 9 months did they ever display a desire to change their lives, or come into a relationship with Jesus.
The problem was not in God’s willingness save them, but in their inability and unwillingness to turn from their sins to Jesus for salvation. Although many people are miserable in their present condition, the sin within them—chains their will to their sins, and it will not let them go.
Many academics who retain distinguished titles and positions of notoriety in their particular fields, find it impossible to acknowledge the existence of God. To do so would cost them everything that they have labored for—so long and through such great difficulty, to achieve.
For seventy or eighty years of this world, many people will sacrifice eternal life without end—an existence that is beyond comprehension in perfection. Jesus described this inexplicable conundrum:
Matthew 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
For a life that is temporary and quickly passing away, many will forfeit eternal life—without end.
The truth is: men love darkness (their sin) more than they love God.
Salvation is of the Lord. He has done everything that is necessary to save us. Forgiveness and redemption is available to anyone—at any time. The sacrifice has been made for our sins; all that we have to do is receive it. First, we must come in repentance before God and ask His forgiveness, and be willing to surrender our life to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. If anyone is sincerely willing to do this, they can have eternal life immediately.
On the day that a person finds that his earthly life is over and he stands before God to offer his excuse, he will discover that he will have nothing to say, as he beholds the Holiness of God. At that moment, he will realize that the former decision that was made on earth—to not turn to the Messiah for his salvation—was an eternal error. After death, there is no second chance. God has given us one opportunity to have our sins dealt with, by the cross that Jesus died upon. If we choose to reject this great work that has been accomplished, before we die—even though salvation came by the arm of the Lord—after death it cannot reach us. If we do not reach up to God today in repentance and express a desire to be saved now, while we are still alive, we will have no second chance after we pass into eternity.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…
God is not threatening us with Hell; He is offering us Heaven, if we are willing to come to Him. If God wanted to send us all to Hell, we would already be there now. The fact that He allowed His Son to die for the terrible things that we have done is an eternal testament to the fact that He was willing to do anything to keep us out of Hell. Sadly, we have so many excuses for why we are unwilling to come to God.
Things that hinder a relationship with God, riches:
When the rich young ruler came to Jesus, he wanted to know what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus told him to go and sell all that he owned, then come and follow Him. His excuse was—he owned much and so it was impossible for him to give these things up to follow Jesus. In reality, the problem was not the riches that the young man possessed; it was the riches which possessed the young man. If this young ruler had been willing to give up everything to follow Jesus, it is likely that the Lord would have told him that he did not have to sell all he possessed. In his willingness to rid himself of anything that would hinder his relationship with God, he would show that the Lord was first in his life and the things he possessed were secondary to God.
As Abraham brought his only son, Isaac, to God and was willing to thrust the knife into what he loved most, God stopped him and said: “Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.”
At another time, one of the scribes came to Jesus and made a public profession that he wanted to follow Him. The excuse he offered for why he could not follow Jesus was a matter of inconvenience.
“First, let me go and bury my father…”
This was a well known and often quoted excuse by certain people of this time in history. In fact, the father was not dead; it was not likely that he was even sick. The person who would quote this excuse, was really saying, “I am not ready now… It is not convenient for me… Perhaps someday when I feel the need…”
Jesus response was, “Follow me. Let the other spiritually dead people bury your father.”
Matthew 8:19-22 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Excuses are as old as Adam, for he made the first excuse to the Lord for why he sinned and disobeyed the Lord.
Genesis 3:12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
If we persist, our excuses will prevent us from obtaining eternal life and all the blessings that God has in mind for us. We have a very limited amount of time here on earth to decide for Jesus and seal our eternal destiny. The longer we put off the decision, the harder it will be to make the decision later. If we should die before we make a commitment to Jesus as our Savior, we will be lost. The issue of eternal life and the forgiveness of our sins is the most important decision that we will ever make. It is better to settle this issue now rather than later. We may find that later will be too late. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people find themselves suddenly gone from this earth and have no second chance at redemption. Today is the day of Salvation. I pray that you have made this important decision and rest fully on the promises of Jesus, as you wait for His return.
Soon, the time that we have to receive Jesus will be past, and there will be no opportunity for us to be saved. As the Lord pronounced through the prophet Jeremiah, the people of Judah are full of their excuses for why they will not serve their God; but the end result was their opportunity for salvation had passed, and they were not saved.
Jeremiah 8:20 “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!”
The Lord has accomplished our salvation, as Isaiah declares in this 276th prophecy of Isaiah 59:16, His arm of righteousness. There is nothing that we must do to obtain this salvation except to admit our sins and receive Jesus as our Savior. The difficulty for most people is to come to the place in their life where they are ready to admit that they are a sinner. God has done everything that is necessary for us to have eternal life. All of our sins are already forgiven for Jesus’ sake. All that separates us from eternal life and the forgiveness of all our sins—is to come to Jesus, confess, and believe.
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
 Author’s Definition, as described throughout the Bible.
 John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
 Luke 18:18-24
 Genesis 22