1 You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
Over the past few years, my book shelves have become weighed down with nice new works focusing strongly on the gospel. At times, I begin to wonder why so many pieces should be written on such a simple topic, such a fundamental principle. But then I realize that, indeed, the gospel is simple, fundamental, and indeed essential for any Christian or any church to have any concept of God, of worship, and of salvation. And it is also sadly true that many simply do not have a solid grasp on what should be the center of their Christian lives.
Notice the wording of Isaiah 12:1-2. There are things said here that can only be true of one who has truly received the forgiveness of God. Isaiah has the people recognizing that God was angry with them, justly and rightly furious at them because of their sinful rebellion. This is so often missed in modern congregations. Instead of declaring God to be rightly angry at us for our sins, modern churches too often depict God as tearfully desperate for us to come to him to make him feel better. O, make no mistake, God loves his children. God loves those he calls to himself. God loves the lost with a love that is infinitely better than any of us could deserve. However, God is rightly and justly angry at rebels against him.
So, If you grasp the gospel, what do you grasp? You grasp that a holy God was angry with you, but he set aside that anger to turn to you in mercy. He punished Jesus with his full anger in order to welcome you into his family with gentleness and tenderness.
When a sinner grasps that God set aside his anger to bring his children to himself, he or she will sing as Isaiah has sinners singing in verse 2. God is our salvation. We have no other hope. We have done nothing good on our own. We have brought nothing to the table but our sin. God is the center of the Gospel. It was his anger, his justice, his kindness, his mercy, his forgiveness of our sin, his will that was done, his glory that we drink from, his family into which we are adopted, his doing from start to finish. O worship this God and never fail to grasp the genuine, biblical, glorious gospel of grace.