Hearing Isaiah 43:1-7 in church several weekends ago, I was struck by the bolded part below:
43 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.”
Yes, God desires all – without qualifications – to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth. He really would have his word be preached to all, and means that it would be effective (or efficacious) when and where it pleases Him, as the Book of Concord insists. God gets all the glory for this. That said, not all will be saved, and unsaved persons get all the blame for this. During the course of time, some who resist Him, in fact, will perish that others will live. Salvation and damnation go hand in hand, and one will not be had without the other.
Speaking with my pastor after the service, he noted that throughout the Old Testament, God is often reminding the Israelites that they were saved in part through the loss of the Egyptian’s firstborns. In short, their firstborn children – also unbelievers – were sacrificed that the Israelites might have life.
Now that is not the kind of stuff I think about every day, nor am comfortable thinking about. I do tend to glory not only in the cross, but also in the fact that God does not desire the death of the wicked and would have all be saved (see here). Still, I have gotten somewhat close to this (see this past post), but never connected many of these dots.
Blessing to you this Holy Week, as we remember the Lamb who became sin for us.