The Gospel of Salvation
Isaiah 52:7 states the essence of the gospel message:
How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
The first part of this passage is referenced by Paul in Romans 10:14-15: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (NASB)
The message of the gospel is about peace, happiness, and salvation because of what the Lord does for us through Jesus Christ. Notice also the critical statement Isaiah adds in 52:7: “Your God reigns!” The gospel is about the reign of God. This is the kingdom or rule of God, and because of who He is, He is the only one who has the power to offer peace, happiness, and salvation. This is, indeed, good news. He has the power to offer us what no one else can because He maintains the ultimate authority over all. The beauty of this is that not only does God have power to provide salvation, happiness, and peace, He wants to provide these because He is the God of all grace and love. Indeed, God is love.
What is also powerful in this passage is a connection that can be missed if we don’t keep reading. Isaiah 52:10 says, “The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of the nations,” but to what end? “That all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.” God shows His power in order to bring salvation to His people and all the nations. This was God’s plan all along.
We naturally read these passages with the fulfillment brought about by Jesus Christ in mind, and we should. Yet remember the initial context. Isaiah lived during the era in which the northern kingdom of Israel was defeated and dispersed by Assyria (ca. 740-700 BC). From Isaiah 40 to the end, the message crosses the years to bring a message of hope to those of Judah who would be in Babylonian captivity (605-538). God would bare His holy arm to bring them back from captivity and return them to their homeland. They would once again build the temple and show the nations that God keeps His promises. But Isaiah’s message does not stop there. God’s pattern of bringing His people out of captivity, whether from Egypt or Babylon, would find an even greater fulfillment in what He did through the Messiah. All people from all nations could be brought out of the captivity of sin into the kingdom of God’s dear son (Col 1:13-14).
Keep reading in Isaiah, for what comes next is the great twist. God would bare His holy arm, but this time in a way that is most unexpected: God’s power is manifested through the Suffering Servant. It is no accident that Isaiah 52:13-53:12 follows, a passage well known to us for pointing to Jesus on the cross. God’s powerful and holy arm is seen through His sending the Servant, Jesus Christ, to die! This is not the way that anyone would typically think of showing power. Yet, as Isaiah shows so well just a few chapters later, God’s thoughts and ways are not ours; they are infinitely higher (Isa 55:8-9). Again, this is good news for us.
This traces the great biblical theme of God taking what appears to be weak and making it strong. In what seemed to be such weakness found in suffering and death, God reveals His arm and shows His power for bringing salvation. This is why Paul could say, “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18ff). God can manifest His power any way He chooses, but He chose to do so in the most gracious, beautiful way by bringing Jesus into this world as the Servant to die for our sins. Jesus, who is in very nature God, took on the form of the servant, emptied Himself to death, and is now exalted as King (Phil 2:5-8). This is a message that did not come from the minds of mere men.
The message of the gospel is beautiful as it brings the good news of salvation and peace. In that message is also the good news of the reign of the Lord, for in His resurrection, He was raised up as Lord and Christ to sit on His throne (Acts 2:29-36). The kingdom of God, the reign and rule of God, is about bringing salvation and peace to a fallen world. Your God reigns! What a grand message of salvation and peace has been given! What shall we do with it?