My Salvation Will Be Forever
Isaiah 51:6, "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look to the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner, but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed."
This is one of those simple and yet profoundly beautiful and paradigmatic truths--the vastness and solidity of the heavens will pass away like smoke in the wind, and the depth and strength of the earth will wear out like the knees in my blue jeans. We live in a world of mist. As Paul said, everything that we see around us is transient (2 Cor.4:17-18). And God calls us to remember this, indeed, here in Isaiah the reason for looking at the heavens and earth is precisely to remember that they will not remain. YHWH intends for us to live with the ever present recognition that the world around us is not eternal, it is not forever, it will not always be as it is now, it is passing away.
But....the salvation of YHWH, the righteousness of YHWH--this is everlasting (because He is everlasting), this is sure, this is unshakable and will never pass away.
Oh, to get this into our heads and hearts and imaginations! The world is a tossing surf of change and uncertainty, but the strong rock of YHWH's Name and Character and of the salvation He works for His people--that is where our hope is to be found, that is where we are to cling and hold and hide and hope. And note also that if the Lord's salvation is forever, the implication is that those who are saved by this salvation will, in some way, be forever also. This is not a fully developed doctrine of the resurrection and eternal state of new creation (though I think that Isaiah does think in those categories), but it certainly hints in that direction.
And how will the Lord work this everlasting salvation? How will He reveal this never-dismayed righteousness? Through the Suffering Servant, through the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe because in it the righteousness of God is revealed. The surrounding passages in Isaiah introduce the Servant (50) and move into a foretelling of His suffering, death, and resurrection (52-53), this is how the eternal salvation of God breaks into the transient world of humanity.....And we cling to Him!.....we lay hold of this rock of salvation, this anchor of righteousness and are unmoved.......those who trust in YHWH--who trust in the crucified and risen Son--will sing songs of joy and see visions of beauty long ages after the sun has burned down and Everest has blown away in the wind.