18 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. 19 If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. 20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
It’s here in Isaiah 1 that we discover the radical transformation that takes place for those that are forgiven: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” God not only invites us to come to Him but to come and be cleansed. One would think that mankind would be knocking on God’s door but we are reminded here that it is God who seeks us first. As Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to SEEK and save those who are lost.” We are lost and need to be sought because of our sin. It is our sin that blinds us to our need for God, so God has to seek man because man will not seek God. The call here is for us to come and be clean. This is not only the grace of God it is the gift of God, that we can be forgiven of our sins and have fellowship with Him. It is the greatest invitation ever to be extended for it costs us nothing while it cost Him everything. It is an invitation to:
- Reason at an unreasonable time.
The nation of Israel was in deep trouble during Isaiah’s time for the people had rebelled against God, as verses 2-4 reveal: “Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the Lord says: The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me. 3 Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care—but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them. Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the Lord. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.” Like the nations of today they chose to ignore God, turning instead to trusting in self and trying to find their satisfaction in sin. They had become a culture of corruption, a society living in the sewer and stinking of sin. This also was not God’s first call for the people to repent and return to Him. God had already attempted to get their attention by chastening, but they stubbornly refused to turn from their sin. Isaiah describes them as a sin sick people where crime and violence characterized the age. So as we come to God’s invitation to “come and reason together” we see the grace of God displayed. This is the miracle of His mercy that He would invite a sinner like me to come and be clean. We have a God who goes beyond all reason and invites us to run to Him and be redeemed. Its only when we respond to His call to be cleansed that we can deal with the disease of our sin. But too often Christians end up dealing with symptoms and not causes. We keep confessing the same sins because we have not gotten to the root of the sin. It’s like the story of the pious hypocrite who loved to pray long public prayers in church, which he often closed with these words, “And, Lord, take the cobwebs out of my life!” One day one of the godly elders of the church became tired of hearing this empty ritual week after week. So one evening, after the man had concluded his long routine prayer and had mentioned the cobwebs, the elder stood up and prayed, “And, Lord, while You’re at it, kill the spider!” It was the spider that Paul had in mind when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:1 “Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.” Instead of tolerating sin we need to terminate it. Are you putting to death in your life the things that defile? Whether it is a sinful action or an attitude we need to eliminate it from our lives. Not only is this a call to reason at an unreasonable time but it is an invitation:
- From God at an ungodly time.
The people were so wicked that verses 9-10 say they reminded Isaiah of Sodom and Gomorrah: “If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah. 10 Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.” These were a people who had rejected God’s way and God’s Word. It was only because of a few righteous that the majority were kept from destruction. Today we too live in an ungodly time where people worship self and rejoice in sin instead of repenting from it. And just as God called those who had forsaken Him to come and find forgiveness so He also calls us to come and be clean. To go from being scarlet red to white as snow, from crimson red to white as wool. God still meets sinners where they are and has the power to cleanse them of their sin. This was the desire of David’s heart after he had sinned in Psalm 51:7, “Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” Because of Christ’s death on the cross we can be clean, because of His blood we can be born again. You see the legacy of Jesus Christ is by far the most profound and planet transforming legacy of anyone in all of human history. Human history was literally divided in time at His birth, into BC, Before Christ, and AD, Anno Domini, Latin for “in the year of our Lord.” Even atheists who refuse to acknowledge Him have to tell time by Him. When it comes to Christ more songs have been written and sung, more books written, and more art work commissioned than anyone who has ever lived. Today millions gather around the world to worship and celebrate Christ and respond to His call to come and be clean. Today God calls you to come and reason with Him, you have a choice, you can confess and be cleaned or you can experience the crushing consequence of your sin. Are you going to come and reason or continue in your rebellion?