“For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” (Isa 48:9-11)
As often as I read this passage, I am awestruck and brought to tears, for in these words the intensity of God’s will and the resolute strength of His character is glimpsed. It is THIS GOD in whom we trust for our salvation; THIS GOD who is greater than all others and whom none can overcome!
I was reminded of this scripture when the discussion among several brothers turned to whether God loved us before He saved us, or whether God could only love us through the blood of His son. Some cited Genesis 6:5-6 wherein God expressed regret for making man, others John 3:16 which says “God so loved the world”.
Though I believe God has always loved us, I’m of the mind that saving mankind had more to do with God being true to His character, than how He felt about us at the time. God is simply more good than we are evil, more loving than we are rebellious, more graceful than we are sinful. Were it the other way around, does that not suggest there is a limit to God’s grace? If our actions were too despicable for God’s forgiveness, does that not mean the devil’s power to steal, kill and destroy is greater than God’s power to save?
God has saved us in spite of ourselves. It is for His namesake He has saved us and for this reason it is written “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Even our faith is a gift from God (1 Corinthians 12:9).
And thus we are saved for no other reason than we are the fortunate beneficiaries of God’s immeasurably good character.