“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else”—Isaiah 45:22 (ASV).
The nations of the world have been looking to their idols for centuries, but all in vain. Many have looked to their boastful philosophies of humanism and secularism, also in vain. False religions, politicians, and unholy alliances—all will be in vain to save the nations and their inhabitants. They must look to God, declares Isaiah, the gospel prophet.
So what does it mean to look with reference to God? First we must admit that He is the ONLY true God among the multiple gods of this world, and from whom only can salvation come. Looking to God involves spending time with Him in prayer. That’s why we’re encouraged by our Lord Jesus to address Him as our Father (Matthew 6:9). One author says, “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend”—Ellen G. White, Prayer, p. 8. As such, He is the morning star of our every day.
Looking to God also involves every part of our salvation, including pardon for our sins. “As the penitent sinner, contrite before God, discerns Christ’s atonement in his behalf and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life and the future life, his sins are pardoned. This is justification by faith. Every believing soul is to conform his will entirely to God’s will and keep in a state of repentance and contrition, exercising faith in the atoning merits of the Redeemer and advancing from strength to strength, from glory to glory”—Faith and Works, p. 103.
What motivates us to look? At least three factors: His invitation—He bids us look, therefore we should. His promise—He says, “Look, and be saved.” His providential divinity—“For I am God,” all things are possible to Him, our Sovereign Ruler.
What is the best time in which to look? Now, at this very moment. His invitation is in the present tense: “Look unto Me.” He promises in the same tense: “and be ye saved.” It’s like the fiat of creation: Let there be light. It is instantaneous. “Justification is a full, complete pardon of sin. The moment a sinner accepts Christ by faith, that moment he is pardoned. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him, and he is no more to doubt God’s forgiving grace”—The Faith I Live By, p. 107.
The world’s need of salvation is urgent because mankind is not looking and is already lost. Time is running out. Time may soon end. Death comes suddenly. Age creeps up on us. The longest life is short indeed. Now is the time of our salvation and for the people of the world.
This is why NY13 (see www.ny13.org)—the initiative of “reaching people in the metropolitan area of New York City in 2013 and beyond with the gospel of Jesus Christ” is so urgent. Please pray for NY13 as we continue to keep “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), a motto that is good for the penitent and preacher, sinner and saint.
Donald G. King is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College, Inc., Board of Trustees.