ISAIAH 1:18: “Come now, and 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 be as wool.”
OBSERVATION: The promise of forgiveness! What a wonderful promise. What a wonderful hope. This is one of the most familiar verses in the Bible. Yet, it becomes even more powerful when we realize its’ context. It was spoken to the very religious nation of Judah. They were actively involved in all of the religious acts of worship in the Temple. However, their hearts were far removed from the one they purported to worship. Secretly, and sometimes openly, they desired the idols of their day. Their lips honored The Lord, but their hearts were far from Him. They began to oppress and cheat their own brethren. They began to break their vows with the wives of their youth, and they embraced the morality and cultures of the nations surrounding them. So this promise of forgiveness does come as an isolated verse. It comes after a call to true repentance in Verses 16-17.
“16“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”
God was more interested in their hearts and their actions than their “worship”. We cannot hide behind the religious veil of church attendance or even ministry. True repentance is found in the weightier matters of truth, justice, and love. A nation or a person that truly is walking after The Lord will manifest the heart of the Father. They will turn away from evil. They will pursue that which is good. They will seek justice and stand against oppression. They will defend and help those who cannot help themselves – the fatherless, the widow in need, the unborn, the elderly. This is the fruit of true repentance. If we read our Bible, go to church, offer our tithes, give our service – but we neglect the weightier matters of truth, justice, and love – we are not walking in authentic repentance and we will not enter into the blessings of the promise of forgiveness.
As I think on this I must look inwardly at my own heart. Have I replaced repentance with religion? Have I substituted the sacrifices of convenience for the true sacrifices of The Lord? Like the nation of Judah – I must repent. Lord, create in me a clean heart. Renew within me a right spirit. Help me to capture Your heart and to walk in Your love. Let me enter into the free flowing stream of Your forgiveness. Let my life become a true reflection of the Father’s heart. In Jesus Name!