Old and new
“But I will not destroy them all,” says the Lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away—some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds. Isaiah 65:8-10 NLT
From the text, Isaiah is describing what God does as He examines the life of those who claim they believe and trust Him. God is not pleased with outward expressions of spirituality. He wants those that claim they are His faithful children to be responsive to Him. They must be consistent to their claim that they are His followers. They cannot just hide behind religious rituals and traditions. Just because we are observing religious practices, like church attendance, that this will be counted for us and is enough to get by. Isaiah’s used of the metaphor of good grapes clustered among bad ones point to the fact that God will look beyond the surface and will prove motivation so He can separate those who are real from false followers. The ones that have authentic faith remain steadfast in their commitment to Him for they are the “good grapes.” Those who have authentic faith will be open to His word and will delight in matters that please God. The ones who will seek God will find Him and will be rewarded. “The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds” (Isaiah 65:10). “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Once you are in Christ, you cannot stay the same for God will transform you. You will not go back to the life you had before you came to know Christ as your Lord and Savior. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17). “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).