Isaiah 61:3 “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
“Beauty for Ashes”
I’ve heard this phrase used and have read this passage many times. Just recently, when I read it, it hit me that this is a perfect description for a person to try to visualize God’s grace. When we accept His free gift of salvation, this is what He does. He gives us His “beauty” in eternal life, for our “ashes” in eternal death. A home in Heaven, for an eternity in Hell. Peace and assurance, for doubt and uncertainty.
I love the way that John Gill put it:
“In the Hebrew text there is a beautiful play on words, which cannot be so well expressed in our language, ‘to give peer for epher’; in times of mourning, it was usual to put on sackcloth and ashes, instead of this, Christ gives his mourners the beautiful garments of salvation, and the robe of his righteousness, and the graces of his Spirit, and his gracious presence, together with his word and ordinances, and sometimes a large number of converts; all which, as they are ornamental to his people, they yield them joy, peace, and comfort: and this is a beauty that is not natural to them, but is of grace; not acquired, but given; not fictitious, but real; is perfect and complete, lasting and durable, and desired by Christ himself, who gives it.”
The Grace of God is the most wonderful thing that a person can experience here on earth.
It is immeasurable, it is undeserved, it is beauty for ashes.