What Calvinism SHOULD Produce: Isaiah's Results
by Jeff Hagan
(Tacoma, WA, USA)
Scripture: Isaiah 6
This incredible display of the Lord as King produced several notable results in the life of Isaiah.
The Results in the life of Isaiah:
First of all, it brought a “deep experimental acquaintance with his own sinfulness.”*
“Woe is me! I am undone. I’ve been shocked. I’ve gone to pieces. I’ve fallen apart.” Let's take a minute and remember who exactly is saying this. This was the prophet Isaiah, from every thing we find in Scripture he is a holy man, a man of God. Even though, he had not yet seen the Lord in a way that shook him to his very core and revealed the inherent and thorough corruption of his own heart and life. This is how the “creation” of a true Calvinist starts. In addition, all indications show that those around him were also obedient and godly. However, when Isaiah was given a glimpse of the majesty of God it brought with it not only an insight into his own wretchedness, but also insight into the sinfulness of those around him, of those in his own generation.
Second, it brought an “experimental acquaintance with grace and forgiveness.”**
As Isaiah feels how thoroughly unclean he is, the seraph takes a burning coal from the sacrificial altar, a coal which then becomes a symbol of the basis on which God forgives sinners. The coal is then touched to the lips of the prophet and an incredible message of grace follows, “Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” The word “forgiveness” from that point becomes recognized as the truly humbling, overpowering, captivating word that it is. Grace is appreciated so rarely today because the absolute majesty, complete sovereignty, and transcendent holiness of God are not recognized for what they are. We treat the distance between ourselves and God as though it's just a small mud puddle that needs to be stepped over. However, Isaiah saw it as an unbridgeable canyon, and when the Lord sovereignly extended a bridge of mercy across that canyon and touched him, he became a man who fervently lived in a way to honor that providential extension of grace.
Third, it tells us of a man who was “brought to utter resignation before God.”***
After having been cleansed, Isaiah then tells us, “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Make note of the prophet’s reaction. After experiencing what he had just experienced, how could he not but reply, “Here am I.”? This was an instinctive reaction of a man who had seen the Lord and heard his voice. And then the Lord tests how deep Isaiah's confession is and we see in him an absolute surrender to not only the will of God but to His ways as well, regardless of how odd they seem. It is instantly made clear to Isaiah that, ironically, his ministry is going to be primarily one of judgment.
But does Isaiah try and back away? Do we see any hesitation or pause? No, we don't. He simply asks, “Lord, how long?” In other words, he obeys and trusts God in His plan and purpose. He resigns himself to God's will and ways.
A Calvinist is “born.”
*Quoted from Martin, “The Practical Implications.....” (see part one).