"Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool." Isaiah 1:16-18
We love to quote the last verse of this reading. It’s a beautiful reminder of God’s promise of forgiveness. But we often forget the context of the two verses that come before it, which are a call to repentance.
God’s Word is always clear about this. Sin will always bring judgment. Where there is no repentance, the judgment remains.
God on the one hand calls us to repent, to abandon our sin and leave it behind and return to Him, and on the other He assures us of His unfailing love, mercy, and grace as soon as we turn again to Him.
We don’t earn His forgiveness by the perfection of our repentance; that would be impossible, since our sinful hearts will always betray us. A part of repentance is recognizing this very fact: I am a sinner and my very heart is corrupt. Forgiveness must be by pure grace.
The promise of forgiveness is free and certain to all who come to Jesus with a heart of repentance, just as the promise of judgment is certain to every person - or nation - that refuses. That’s why He says,“Come now, let us reason together... Let’s talk about this.”
Lord, you know my sinful heart and it’s deceitful desires. Forgive me, deliver me, and give me the strength I need to walk in your ways today, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles