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LIFE > Life in the World > Drinkers of Wine > Symbolism of Wine > God's Salvation


In Isaiah 55:1-3 God addresses “everyone who thirsts” (v. 1), that is, those who are in need, the lost, the unbeliever (see: Matt. 5:6; Jo. 7:37-38; Rev. 21:6; 22:17). He includes those “who have no money” (v. 1), that is, those with nothing to offer, no goodness, no ability. God’s message is for the sinner who recognizes his need (“thirsty”) and his poverty (“no money”). To these He says: “Come, buy and eat” (v. 1), and “Come to Me” (v. 3). “Come” is the invitation of the Gospel (Matt. 11:28; Rev. 22:17), an invitation to sinners. It is the announcement that there is a remedy for thirst.

He continues: “Yes come, buy wine (yayin) and milk” (v. 1), symbols of abundance and of that which satisfies and brings joy. Wine is what the thirsty person needs, while salvation is what the lost soul needs; and God is the source of both. This purchase of salvation is made “without money and without price” (v. 1); that which satisfies is free (see: Isa. 25:6; Rom. 6:23; Tit. 3:5). It cannot be bought—salvation is all of grace. The one with no money can buy wine, and his soul will “delight itself in abundance” (Isa. 55:2). The one who drinks the Water of Life is filled with a “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:8).

The psalmist speaks of “the cup of salvation”; he will take up this cup and “call upon the name of the Lord” (116:13). Worship always follows grace. Surely this is a reference to a cup of wine, perhaps the wine of the Passover (see: Final Passover Observance) or the wine of the drink offering (see: Sacrifices and Festivals). The cup of salvation is in contrast to the cup of judgment which will be discussed in the next section. One cup God gives in grace, the other cup He gives in wrath.

In Psalm 23:5 the writer says: “My cup runs over.” What is in the cup? A cup was usually a cup of wine. The Vulgate translates this phrase as follows: “And my inebriating chalice, how excellent it is!” this was a cup of abundance, not just full, but running over. The fullness, freeness, and sufficiency of God’s gift is being emphasized in this passage. Augustine stated that the martyrs spoke of this cup in Psalm 23 as “the cup of salvation.” To receive the salvation in the cup, one must drink!

In Proverbs the work of “wisdom” is described and her invitation is recorded. She builds her house, slaughters her meat, mixes her “wine” (yayin), furnishes her table, and sends out her maidens. The invitation of wisdom is to whoever is “simple” and “lacks understanding” (9:4). It is similar to the invitation to the thirsty in Isaiah 55:1. The Gospel is for the lost, not the self-righteous. Wisdom declares: “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine (yayin) I have mixed; forsake foolishness” (vs. 5-6). Wisdom provides “bread” and “wine,” and the invitation is to “come.”

To “eat” and “drink” speaks of faith; to “forsake” speaks of repentance. The message of the Bible is one. In the Scriptures the command is to turn from the old and embrace the new, reject sin and accept salvation. When one responds to wisdom, one will “live” and “go in the way of understanding” (v. 6). To receive from wisdom is to eat her bread and drink her wine. What wisdom has is free; it is for those who need it. It is the way of understanding. It is the way of life. It is the way of the Lord. It is the way of salvation.

Oh! that I might repose on Thee!
Oh! that Thou wouldest enter into my heart,
and inebriate it,
that I may forget my ills, and embrace Thee, my sole good?

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