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Mighty to Save

Mighty to Save

APRIL 9, 2024

/ Articles / Mighty to Save

My friend Henry is quite a talented artist.

We have two of his paintings. He is also a thoughtful theology student. Henry never knew he had any talent for painting or interest in theology until he went to prison. Henry is a student in our Seminary-in-Prison program.

In one of his paintings that we have on the wall in our living room, a painting that is both artistically beautiful and theologically rich, there is a lamb in the foreground. It is a very young lamb. He has come through a dark forest, crossed a swamp, and now stands at the edge of a briar patch. His legs are caked with mud. He is dirty all over. His wool is matted and scruffy. He stares straight at the viewer, looking sad and lost.

Behind the lamb, a figure is running out of the forest. It is Jesus. He has left the ninety-nine and gone “after the one that is lost until he finds it” (Luke 15:4). Now that he has found the lamb, he is sprinting toward it, racing to the rescue.

Many mornings, as I have my devotions, I contemplate Henry’s painting and my eyes fill with tears. Sometimes, I see myself as the sad, lost, dirty little lamb and my tears are a sign of the gratitude I feel for what Jesus has done for me. More often, though, when I look at the lamb, I feel my heart breaking for people I love who are far from the Lord.

“It is I, [says the Lord] mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:1).

Charles Spurgeon wrote of this verse, “By the words ‘to save’ we understand the whole great work of salvation, from the first holy desire onward to complete sanctification… Christ isn’t only ‘mighty to save’ those who do repent, but He is able to make us repent… He is mighty to make the person who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him” (Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, 28).

Is there someone who you love who does not love the Lord? Does it seem that that someone has no interest whatsoever in the Lord, the Bible, or spiritual things? Does it seem that he or she does not have any “holy desire” whatsoever?

“Are you praying for some loved one?” wrote Spurgeon. “Oh, don’t give up praying, for Christ is ‘mighty to save.’ You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty. Lay hold on that mighty arm, and rouse it to put forth its strength.”

Pray, pray, and pray for your loved one. God is able to save.  

God is rich in mercy, and he is able to make alive those who are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-5).

Is there someone you love who once professed faith and for a time walked with the Lord but who has now turned away from Him and from his people? The message is the same for you.

Pray, pray, and pray for your loved one. “Don’t give up praying. Remember that Christ is mighty to save.”

And what of yourself? Do you too often find yourself “prone to wander, prone to leave the God you love?”

Spurgeon has a word for you too. “Does your own situation trouble you? Don’t be afraid, for His strength is sufficient for you. Jesus is ‘mighty to save!’”

Pray that the Lord will grant you the grace to turn from your wandering and return to him. Pray that he will cause you “to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) and to “continue in what you have learned and firmly believe” (2 Timothy 3:14).   Henry’s painting reminds me that apart from the grace of God we are all filthy, lost, little sheep and without hope. But “God is mighty to save!” Therein is hope. Hope for ourselves. And hope for those we love who are far from him.

Barry Smith

Barry Smith

Barry’s aim is to prepare the Church to minister well in prisons so that prisoners are prepared to minister well in the Church. This is accomplished through service in complementary […]

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