Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 10
January 22, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<218> Thesis: God's gracious call through John was first a "summons" to address the meaning of the contrast between the "paths" of the Lord and the reality of one's "wilderness life". Introduction: For the last two weeks, we have been looking into the context of Isaiah 40:3-5 so that we might not be led astray by any false understanding of what it means to "repent". The issue is not insignificant. John's message was, "God will forgive your sins if you will repent." The offer of forgiveness is beyond "huge" in that the issues of eternal life and eternal death loom beyond the very real difficulties of this present hour. Forgiveness has an enormous impact upon our very real, but very temporal, difficulties; but the impact forgiveness has upon our eternal issues, which loom on the horizon, is far more real and not at all temporal. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we understand what it means to "repent" so that we may obtain this forgiveness. The context of Isaiah 40 revealed two critical issues: the issue of the satisfaction of the "justice" of Yahweh; and the issue of the "grassliness" of all flesh. Squarely between those two theses rests the summons that John called "repentance". If it is true that there is a way for the justice of God to be satisfied without the subjugation of the sinner to the fiery torments of Eternal Death, but that way does not depend upon the inescapable frailty of man, does it not seem critical to you to know that way? It seems critical to me. Thus, this morning I am going to reconsider the "summons" of John as it is expressed by the Isaiah text as Luke quotes it.