A Study of Isaiah 45:20-22
“Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:20-22)
In Isaiah 45:20 God says “They have no knowledge,” in other words they are ignorant. People are ignorant who worship false gods, who make graven images, who pray to a god who cannot save. They are without knowledge, they are ignorant who pray to a god or call upon a god who does not have the power to save or to hear.
And then verse 21 says, “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour.” There is none other God but one. The LORD our God is one LORD, one LORD. And He said, “a just God and a Saviour.”
And in verse 22 we read: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
And that is what the LORD is saying in this Scripture. “Look unto me.” “Look unto me.” Not look to your ancestry. Not look to your tradition. Not look to your custom. Not look to your preacher. Not look to your man made confessions. Not look to your catechisms. Not look to your water rituals. Not look to the law. Not look to your “church” membership, but “look unto me and be ye saved.”
The LORD declares, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
There is life, eternal life for a sincere saving look to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture says, “He that seeth the Son…” And this is not a physical sight of Christ. Many people saw Him when He walked the earth who never came to know Him. Many people looked upon Him with physical eyes who never looked upon Him with eyes of faith. And so what Isaiah was commanding the people to do is look to Christ by faith with eyes of the heart and eyes of the soul. He that seeth the Son in His redemptive character, in His redemptive glory, in His redemptive work and believeth on Him hath eternal life.
That is what John is saying in John chapter three, verse 14. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness…” As the people were dying Israel had been bitten by the fiery serpents and they were dying. And as Moses lifted up that serpent of brass on a pole and commanded the people, the dying people, to look and live, that is what the LORD is saying here. “Even so must the Son of man, the Lord Jesus Christ, be lifted up that whosever looks to him, whosoever seeth the Son and believeth on him hath everlasting life.” (John 3:14-15)
The religious world has all sorts of instructions for sinners to perform in order to be saved. They have all sorts of plans of salvation. They have all sorts of recipes for salvation, for redemption. But the LORD God simply says, “Look unto me.” Look to Christ!
It is not do this or do that. It is not provide this or provide that. God doesn’t require you to provide a righteousness. He says, “Receive one.” He doesn’t require you to do the work. He says, “Christ has done the work. Look to him.”
There is life for a look. God says, “Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, Jew, Gentile, male, female, bond or free. Look to me all the ends of the earth for I am God. Look to me. I am able to save. I am a just God and a Saviour. Look to me and be saved.”
To the Matthews sitting out there at your desk, that is where the LORD found Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom collecting taxes. And I say to the Matthews sitting out there at your desk, going over your investments and going over your collection and going over your business. I say to you, “Look to Christ, Look to Christ.”
I say to the Simons mending your nets and cleaning your fish and trying to make a living in this world, whatever manual labour you may be performing I say to you, as Christ said to James and John and Simon Peter, “Look to Christ. Look to Christ.”
I say to the Samaritan women, married, divorced, married again, divorced and remarried more than once, confused in life and confused in purpose and confused in sin, “Look to Christ.”
I say to the thieves. There may be those reading this who are in prison. It is hard to find a guilty man, but I will tell you when God finds a guilty man he provides grace. And I say if you are a guilty man, I say to the thieves, the outcasts whom the outcasts have cast out, I say to you, “Look to Christ. Look to Christ. If you have a need look to Christ.”
I say to the moralist trying to find acceptance with God by your works and by your labours and by your deeds, I say to you what Christ said to the rich young ruler, “Look to Christ.”
I say to the religionist like Saul of Tarsus wrapped in your theology and your tradition and all of your ritualism and legalism, I say to you what I say to the Samaritan woman, what I say to the thief, I say, “Look to Christ. You need Christ just as much as anybody else, perhaps more.”
I say to the young people like John Mark, raised in a Christian home, raised in the tradition of religion, raised in wealth and comfort but with no peace and no rest in your hearts and in your souls, I say to you, “Look to Christ. Look to Christ.”
Those are the instructions of the Word of God. Would you be saved? Look to Christ. Would you know God? Look to Christ. Would you have peace? Look to Christ. Would you enter into his rest and cease from your labours? There is life for a saving look at Jesus Christ. God in mercy and grace and wisdom has vested all things in Christ his Son and our Saviour. He says, “of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1st Corinthians 1:30). But you must look to Christ.
The Word of God is the foundation of faith. Almighty God is the giver of faith, but Jesus Christ prophet, priest and king, sin offering sacrifice and substitute is the object of faith. And your eyes of faith must be turned in His direction. He is the source of life. He is the giver of life. He is the cause of life. He said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” (John 10:9) But you are not going to be saved by talking about the door or looking at the door or arguing about the door. You are going to have to enter the door, that is Christ.
He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He is the water of life. He said, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14); “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” (Revelation 21:6) But He is the water and you must drink.
He said, “I am that bread of life. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:48; John 6:51)
He said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:11; John 10:27-28) But you must look to Christ.
You cannot look anywhere else. You cannot look part time to Christ and part time to something else. Your attention totally, wholeheartedly, completely, must be turned by faith to Christ. There is life for a look at the crucified one.
What does it mean to look to Christ?
To look to Christ is to admit His reality.
Now, Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Christ is not a myth. Christ is not an idea. Christ is not just a historical influence. Christ is a living person. He is the living God. He is Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He is the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) God in human flesh appeared and the first thing to look to Christ is to consider Him as a living person, the God man, the blessed redeemer sent from heaven, anointed, commissioned and ordained to be the only redeemer between God and men. It is to look to Christ admitting His reality.
What is it to look to Christ?
It is to acknowledge in my heart not just with my mouth, but in my heart before God, it is to acknowledge that only in Him and by Him and through Him can salvation and justification come, enabling God to be just and justifier, enabling a totally incapable sinner of receiving what he cannot produce. Salvation is in Him, in Him, not in law, not in works, not in deeds, but in Christ.
Listen to this Scripture, 2nd Timothy 1:9. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
We are loved in Christ. We are chosen in Christ. We are redeemed in Christ. We are accepted in Christ. We are seated in Christ. To look to Christ is to acknowledge that in Him, in Him, is all life and salvation and hope. It is not only in Him, but it is by Him.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)
Salvation is not only in Christ, it is by Christ. Isaiah 53:5 says this. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
I am talking about substitution. I am talking about salvation. It is in Christ. It is vested in Christ, but it is by Christ, in the stead of. He is a substitute. He fulfilled the law in our place instead. He went to the cross and died bearing our sins in our place instead. So read it this way. He was wounded for MY transgressions. He was bruised for MY iniquities. The chastisement of MY peace was upon Him and by His stripes I am healed. That is the gospel. You look to Christ.
It is to admit His reality. It is to know and to acknowledge that in Him and by Him, and through Him salvation comes. He is the channel. He is the river. He is the fountain. He is the source. He is the giver of eternal life. He said to the Father, “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (John 17:2) He is the life and He is the giver.
What is it to look to Christ?
It is to address myself to Him. You are going to call on Him. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Blind Bartimaeus, when the Lord Jesus came by, he called, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47). And the Lord stood still. The Lord heard him. The thief on the cross called to the Lord. He said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42). And the publican in the temple called on the Lord. He said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). The Syrophenician woman called on the Lord. She said, “Have mercy on me, O Lord” (Matthew 15:22).
Go all the way through the Word and you will find these people calling on the name of the Lord. And to look to Christ is to address myself to Christ. That’s not to a man out in front of the church. It is not shaking a preacher’s hand. There is no salvation in the preacher’s hand. There is no salvation in front of the church. Salvation is synonymous with Christ. Seek the Lord while he may be found, not a feeling, not an experience, a person. And close with Christ. Embrace him.
It is to continue to look to it.
Repentance and faith are not once for all acts.
Somebody said, “Well, I believed.”
Did you now?
You mean it is an isolated act? It is something once for all that you did in the dim past and cut it off? No, sir. Faith is a continual attitude, so is repentance.
I have repented. I am repenting. I shall repent.
I am believing on Christ. I will believe on Christ.
And to cease to believe on Christ is not to believe on Christ. Hear what God says in Colossians 1:21-23. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel,” a little two letter word, “if ye continue in the faith.” That is exactly in your Bible. “to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith” And if you are in the faith you will continue in the faith. That is what John said. He said, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us:” (1st John 2:19)
Hebrews 3:14 says, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;”
The Lord Jesus said: “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13)
So what is it to look to Christ? It is to admit His reality. What is it to look to Christ? It is to acknowledge that all hope of salvation, justification is in, by and through Him. What is it to look to Christ? It is to address myself to Him, not through a proxy, not through a representative, but Christ. Call on Him. Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. And then it is to continue to look to Him.
For what part of salvation are we to look to Christ. You may have heard preachers say this. “God has done all that he can do. Now it is up to you.”
What I ask them is this, “What is up to me? Just exactly what are you talking about? I am a lost sinner, incapable of holiness, incapable of righteousness, incapable of satisfying the justice of God, incapable of writing my name in the book of life, incapable of giving myself life, incapable of satisfying a holy God…Just exactly what is up to me?”
“God has done all he can do. Now it is up to you.”
What is up to me? I can’t raise myself from the grave. I can’t take myself to glory. I can’t open the doors of heaven? What is up to me?
Well, my friends, regeneration or the new birth is of God. We are born of God. That is up to God. Regeneration, the new birth, we are born of God, not of the will of the flesh, not of the will of men, but born of God. Isn’t that what Scripture says?
Conviction is the work of God. Our Lord said the Holy Spirit, “when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (John 16:8) He is the one who convicts of sin. He is the one who converts the sinner. He is the one that lays bare the heart. He is the one who strips our righteous rags off of us. He is the one that knocks our foundations out from under us. He is the one.
Repentance is the work of God. It says, “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4). The apostle said, “God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (Acts 11:18). So repentance is the work of God. He enables us to repent.
And faith is the gift of God. “Not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:9) That is what Paul said in Ephesians chapter two. “For by grace are you saved through faith, that not of yourself. It is a gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Perseverance is the gift of God. What does the Scripture say? We are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1st Peter 1:5). Kept by the power of God. Even the fruits of grace are called the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, faith, longsuffering, patience, meekness, kindness. These are the fruit of the Spirit, not my fruit.
Salvation is all of grace, all of God. Salvation is of the Lord. Everything I need is found in Christ.
For what part of salvation am I to look to Christ? Every bit of it. He is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). “He is the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:13). He is the alpha and the omega, from eternity past to eternity future everything I have, everything I am, everything I know, everything I will ever be is found in Christ and not in me. I will give Him all the glory both now and forever.
What is our encouragement to look to Christ?
How can we be sure that God will show mercy to sinners like me and you?
Well, here is the first reason, his character. He said, “Look unto me. I am a just God and a Saviour.” (Isaiah 45:22)
Adam is put out of the garden, but he goes out with a promise. The flood destroys the earth, but there is an ark on top of that flood. Sodomy is destroyed, but Lot walks out. God walks through Egypt and destroys the first born of every home, but there is blood on the door. And so God’s character says God will be merciful.
Secondly, God’s promise is all the way through the Word. He says this, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) That is His promise. He cannot lie. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) Do you believe that? Do you believe God? Do you believe He is able to perform all that He promised? He promised to save all who will come to Him. That is what He said.
And then His visit to the earth. He came down here for just this purpose, to seek and to save the lost. He said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)
Paul said, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1st Timothy 1:15)
So, sinner, if there is one there, they are hard to find, but if there is one there, if you can look to Christ on the authority of God’s Word, you will be made whole. For He says, “Look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth. I am God and there is none else.”