Four Names For God’s Church                     

Isaiah 62:12

            Isaiah 62 is a prophecy of the complete salvation of God’s elect by Christ. In this chapter we read of the absolute certainty of the salvation of all the chosen. It is attested by the very oath of God himself. “Because he could swear by no greater, he swear by himself.” It is written, “The Lord hath sworn by his right hand” (v. 8). And, in the proclamation of salvation (the preaching of the gospel), we are assured that in the last day, when all the purpose of God is fulfilled, when all the work of the triune God is finished, the whole church of God, the whole body of the elect will be called by God himself and by all creation by these four blessed, glorious names:

            “THE HOLY PEOPLE” - In ourselves we are altogether unholy, sinful, and vile. But by the mighty works of God’s free grace in Christ every chosen sinner shall be made holy. We are made holy by divine imputation. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to every redeemed sinner in exactly the same way as our sins were imputed to him (II Cor. 5:21). We are made holy by divine regeneration, too. In regeneration (the new birth), chosen, redeemed sinners have the holy, righteous nature of Christ imparted to them (II Pet. 1:4; I John 3:9). And we shall be made holy by the resurrection of our bodies. In that great day, when Christ comes again, he will change our vile bodies and make them like unto his glorious body (Phil. 3:21). We shall then be perfectly conformed to the image of God’s dear Son in body, soul, and spirit! Then, we shall be “holy and without blame before him.”

            “THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD” - The basis of God’s gracious operations by which he makes his people holy is the blood atonement of Christ. This name for God’s elect implies three things: (1.) Our salvation is as much a matter of justice as it is a matter of grace. God could not and would not save his chosen apart from the satisfaction of his justice by the blood of Christ (Rom. 3:24-26). (2.) The atonement of Christ was made for a particular people (Isa. 53:8). Atonement was made for those who are here named “The redeemed of the Lord.” (3.) Christ’s atonement was effectual. All for whom he died shall be called “The redeemed of the Lord!” All the redeemed shall be called...

            “SOUGHT OUT” - Every saved sinner gladly acknowledges that he was sought out by the Savior and that it was Christ’s seeking him out that caused him to seek Christ. Salvation begins with God seeking us, not with us seeking him! In all his works of providence and in all the operations of his grace, our God is seeking out a people for himself, a people chosen and redeemed by him. And they shall be called...

            “A CITY NOT FORSAKEN” - Should it ever come to pass that one who is sought out and saved was left to himself, he would perish. But that shall never come to pass! He who sought us out has sworn, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee!” He who redeemed us and sought us out will keep us from falling and present us faultless before the presence of his glory, “A city not forsaken!”


Don Fortner