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August 28 Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 27-29
No Pricking Brier — No Grieving Thorn
When judgment is over and all the wicked are cast into hell, when all the Israel of God has been saved and all the nations of them that opposed her have been destroyed, when our great God and Savior appears in his glory and makes all things new, the Lord God promises…
“There shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord GOD. Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob. And they shall dwell safely therein, and shall build houses, and plant vineyards; yea, they shall dwell with confidence, when I have executed judgments upon all those that despise them round about them; and they shall know that I am the LORD their God.”
Saved by Grace
Salvation involves all that is required to bring a sinner from the ruins of the fall into the glory of heaven. There is no aspect of salvation, no part of the package, neither on this side of eternity nor on the other, which depends upon, or is in any way, or to any degree determined by man.
God’s election of some to salvation is the election of grace. Divine predestination is “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Our redemption by the precious blood of Christ, that redemption which purchased and secured for us the forgiveness of all sin forever, was effectually accomplished for us “according to the riches of his grace.” We are “justified freely by his grace.” We were born again by the power of God’s grace. Our faith in Christ is the gift and operation of the grace of God. We are sanctified by that same free grace. If we persevere unto the end, it will be by that grace of God, which keeps us in grace and faith, being sealed by his Holy Spirit, “unto the redemption of the purchased possession,” that is to say, until the day of our resurrection. When, at last, we stand before our God and Savior in heaven, we shall possess all the glory of our heavenly inheritance forever, as “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ,” by free grace alone.
When our great God and Savior says, “Time shall be no more,” when he makes all things new, when he presents us before the presence of the glory of God, holy, unblamable, and unreprovable, without any trace of sin upon us, when he who made all things for himself brings forth the headstone and puts it in the place of everlasting pre-eminence and glory before heaven, earth and hell, we will shout with Zerubbabel, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts…crying, Grace, grace unto it!”
So thorough, so complete, so full is God’s salvation that when it is finished, there will be absolutely no regrets, no sorrows, and no tears in eternity for God’s elect. — “There shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn.”
Difficult as that may be for us to grasp, it is plainly revealed in Holy Scripture. — “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4). Isaiah tells us the same thing. "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8).
Notice the very slight, but very significant difference in the way the two texts (speaking of the same promise) are worded. Isaiah tells us that God will wipe away “tears from off all faces.” He promises us that God will wipe tears from the faces of all who possess eternal life with Christ in everlasting glory. But in Revelation 21:4, the apostle John tells us that, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” By Divine inspiration, he gives an added touch of grace. He tells us that our God is not only going to wipe tears from the eyes of all his people, but also that “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes!”
Put the two texts together and you have the glorious promise of God in the Gospel to every believing sinner. It is just this: — when our great and glorious God is finished with all things, he will have so thoroughly and completely saved all his people from all sin and from all the evil consequences of sin forever that there will never be a tear in our eyes again!