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July 28 Today’s Reading: Isaiah 59-63
“Glorious in His Apparel”
Our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, declares, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me.” The whole work of redemption and grace is the work of Christ alone. In God’s great work of grace, in the salvation of our souls, no assistance is wanted, needed, required, or allowed. It is altogether the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, “travelling in the greatness of his strength, mighty to save.”
A Mighty Savior
That is exactly what Isaiah tells us in the opening verse of Isaiah 63. — Our Lord Jesus Christ is “mighty to save.” Reading the last two verses of chapter 62, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is here giving us a prophetic description of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our salvation in and by him seven hundred years before his incarnation. In those two verses the prophet of God declared Christ’s coming to redeem and save his people. Here in chapter 63 the prophet describes how he would accomplish that salvation.
He seems to have in his mind’s eye a vision of the incarnate God, our Savior, as he was performing the work. When he saw him covered with blood, as one coming up out of a great battle, yet full of great strength, he cried, as though he was astonished by what he saw, — “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?”
Edom and Bozrah are, I think, an allusion to the ancient enmity of Esau, the head of the house of Edom, against Jacob, his brother. They are set before us here, and throughout the Scriptures, as the unrelenting enemies of God’s elect. Edom and Bozrah are all those who are born after the flesh, the persecutors of those who are born after the Spirit (Galatians 4:29).
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?” — Do you see him, as he comes “in the greatness of his strength”? Behold, the Man of God’s right hand, coming up as the Captain of our Salvation, returning from war; but he appears not as one who is tired, weary with battle. He comes forth to his redeemed “in the greatness of his strength.” That is how Christ always comes to his people, “in the greatness of his strength” (See John 17:2).
Glorious in Apparel
And he is “glorious in his apparel.” — He comes in the apparel of a servant; but he is “glorious in his apparel.” His garments are the garments of one who is a lowly servant. Yet, he is glorious in his garments. They are “dyed garments,” drenched in blood, drenched in his own blood, yes; but here Isaiah sees him coming forth as one “glorious in his apparel,” because his garments are drenched in the blood of his enemies and ours, and drenched in the blood of his redeemed! Oh, what a gallant man our Lord Jesus Christ is as he goes forth “conquering and to conqueror!” He is Jehovah’s Servant, that righteous Servant who was sent to deliver his people from the hands of their enemies. He is “glorious in his apparel,” because he has delivered us, having conquered all our enemies.
Speaks in Righteousness
The astonished prophet asked, “Who is this?” Immediately, the Man who is both Jehovah and Jehovah’s Servant answered in great grace, — “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save!” It is as though he said, “Fear not, little flock, I come not to hurt but to heal. I come not to do battle, but from battle. I come to you as he who is mighty to save!”
He speaks in righteousness by the gospel (Romans 3:24-26). He speaks in righteousness as our Advocate and Mediator in heaven (1 John 2:1-2). He speaks in righteousness when he speaks peace to believing sinners. He will speak in righteousness when he says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord!”
Mighty to Save
Our Lord Jesus Christ is a mighty Savior; and because he speaks in righteousness, our all-glorious Christ is “mighty to save” (Psalms 89:19; Hebrews 7:25). An impotent savior is no Savior at all. Those who cry up a god who cannot save without the consent of man’s free-will or the assistance of man’s works, cry up a god who is nothing but the useless figment of man’s perverted imagination. An impotent god is no God at all. An impotent god is as useless as a bucket without a bottom. If your god wants to save everyone, if your Jesus died to redeem everyone, if your divine spirit tries to save everyone, and some people go to hell in spite of all that your god has done to keep them out, you need another God, a God who is God, a God who is “mighty to save!”
We worship, trust, and preach an almighty, all-sufficient, effectual Savior. Our Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. And he is “mighty to save!” He does not merely provide salvation, offer salvation, or try to get sinners to be saved. He saves his people from their sins by his almighty, irresistible grace (Matthew 1:21; 11:27; John 17:2; Romans 9:15-16). He cannot fail to do so (Isaiah 42:4).