Isaiah 55:6 ¶ Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Benjamin Franklin was at a great disadvantage as ambassador to France, in that he could not speak French. Everything which was spoken to him by the French were just meaningless sounds. He first had to have a translator constantly by his side until he learned the French language. He then had to learn to think in French! And fallen mankind is at a more tremendous disadvantage in that they need to forsake their very thoughts in order to communicate with the Almighty God! For his thoughts are higher than the heavens above man’s thoughts. Man, in his fallen condition cannot perceive of the glorious realm of “Abundant Pardon!” That is why the sinner must forsake both his way and his thoughts and be brought to the mind of Christ!
Sadly the majority of those today who attempt to declare to man God’s scriptures know little, if anything, of God’s abundant pardon. They only present a ‘gospel’ of “do” and ‘don’t’ morality, knowing nothing of the free grace of God which provides glorious righteousness!
Religious man thinks only of God saving them from sin! But the Lord speaks of far more than that; of even bringing the redeemed into the awareness of His glory! John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
The Apostle Paul writes of the actual reigning of grace in God’s recovery of all things in Christ which were lost in Adam! Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
He also speaks of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge; and of God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
Ephesians 3:19-20 He was fully aware of this abundant pardon! And it included far more then a mere “get out of jail free” card!
The religious man only thinks of being spared from going unto a horribly wicked place. He only wants to be saved from Hell. But God’s thoughts are so much higher! For he intends to save the sinner into the Presence of being one with Himself! John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Even the redeemed of God do not yet have full insight as to what they shall be in eternity. However God has predestinated them to be conformed to the very image of his Son! 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The returning prodigal only contemplates being made lower in status than he was before, in order, as it were, just to get his foot in the door! Just as ignorant religionists sing, “Build me a cabin in the corner of Glory Land!” He only wants to be made as a hired servant in order that he may not starve. He only wanted to be removed from eating with the hogs! But the Father didn’t see it that way! To the returning son it was just a matter of the satisfaction of hunger and not being forced to the fellowship with pigs. But to the Father it was a matter of resurrection from death unto life and a raising him into the fellowship of all the Father’s household!
Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
None but God Himself can actually perceive of the glory of his abundant pardon! Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
In order for the sinner to approach the Almighty One, he is required to “forsake his thoughts.” He is to do this by crying out to the LORD when He is made available to the sinner’s awareness. And the Lord is made near by the Spirit of God both making available and effectual the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. For sinners are made “partakers of the Holy Ghost,” and made to “taste the good word of God,” when they are “once enlightened.” They must take full advantage of this opportunity, for after this, if they fall away it is impossible to renew him again to repentance! (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Therefore faith, belief, and repentance are strongly urged upon the hearts and minds as in a present reality. Believe now! Forsake your thoughts today! Forsake your ways immediately! It is as if he states, “I know you can’t understand the entirety of my essence! But believe my word that I will abundantly pardon!” Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
I will give you “soul rest!” Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The reason for the utter destruction of the human race by the flood of Noah was said to be due to the evil imaginations of their hearts. Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
And therefore their speech must have been wicked as well, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34. Therefore hearing one’s words reveals the condition of his heart and mind. This was the apostle’s desire for the true churches. Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
The heart that is conquered by grace is clearly revealed by the sanctified mouth. James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
And with the blessedness of the Holy Spirit there are mighty weapons to accomplish this. 2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And this is most important for the love to the Almighty includes loving him with our minds. Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. And in loving the Lord with all our minds we must bring every thought into the obedience of Christ!
But let us now think of God thinking. Did you ever consider just what was implied by God speaking of “my thoughts?” The dictionary defines thoughts as, “the product of mental activity; an idea or notion.” However, “God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all.” Therefore there was never in him a lack of awareness, followed afterward by an occurrence or perception of previously unknown, or unconsidered truth. Let us see what we can learn by the Scriptures.
In both Genesis 1:26 and 11:7 we find the words, “Let us.” “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” And, “..let us go down, and there confound their language,..” The Apostle John makes reference to the three which bear witness in heaven! 1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
“The Word” of course, being the eternal Son of God. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
John states that all three bear record in heaven, but that these three are one. Therefore these words, “Let us” were more of a communication of agreement, rather than an annunciation of purpose! Therefore it was God thinking.
And the scriptures record our Lord as saying he heard these thoughts of His Father directing his righteous judgment. John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
And we also have a verse giving us insight to the Third Person hearing. For the Holy Spirit is said to only guide the church from that which he hears from the other two heavenly witnesses. John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
In light on these glorious, heavenly matters we can more readily understand why the Lord requires us to both forsake our way and our thoughts. For in the low realm of our carnal mindedness we are not capable of attaining the height of such abundant pardon as he intends to graciously extend to sinners! It truly is exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
The social ‘gospel’ of our day is just religionists eating what the hogs wouldn’t eat, trying to survive in a foreign land away from the Father. It is a ‘filthy rag’ righteousness, which is no righteousness at all! But even within the gospel of grace there is merely a “make me as a hired servant” gospel! Almost none today know of the glorious heights which Christ’s atoning sacrifice is designed to raise the sinner unto! John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Pastor Gene Breed
May 13, 2021