As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.
The scripture quotation Paul uses here is taken from Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 49:8). Depending on how you divide the paragraphs, it’s either one of the concluding verses of the second Servant Song (prophecies about Jesus and his ministry) or comes immediately after. Regardless, as used by Isaiah, it’s in the future tense, looking ahead to the grace and salvation that will come through Jesus. From Isaiah’s perspective it evokes an amazing, almost unfathomable, promise of future blessing. Who could imagine? Yet the Lord has spoken. Favour and salvation will be poured out. A listening ear and helping hand will be extended from heaven itself. It will all come about through the Lord’s Promised One. Yes.
Paul says this amazing promise, long anticipated, eagerly awaited, has now come about for us. The time is now. The day is here. God’s favour is lavishly poured out. His salvation is given. The Servant, finally, has come.
You have received this blessing, Paul says. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t receive the bounty of his grace without fully walking in it. Don’t let his favour and salvation be in vain.
Now is the time. Receive. Fully.
Lord Jesus, how often have I simply assumed your presence and grace? How easily have I forgotten the wonder? Forgive me.
Old Testament saints waited for you eagerly, on the very edge of their seats. They looked ahead amazed by the promise of future favour. They yearned for it to be realized.
Beyond any of my own deserving, pushing past all my undeserving, you have visited me with grace. I can’t even grasp the extent of this wonder. But the growing glimpse is awakening fresh praise in my heart.
By your Spirit, cause the awareness to deepen, the thankfulness to flow, the receptivity of my heart to expand. May I not receive your grace in vain.
Lord Jesus, be exalted. Be magnified. Amen.
Imagine … living even just a few short years before Christ’s birth. If you took God’s promises seriously, what would you be hoping for?
Then Reflect: Now is the day of favour. What have you received? How will you express thankfulness today? How will you step more deeply into that grace?