Isaiah 1:18 & 19
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.”
The pronouncement was made with authority. His statement was clear, leaving no room for doubt, debate or discussion. His matter-of-fact approach in wanting to set the record straight clarifies the conversation about man’s sinfulness and his inability to shed the curse of his humanity. Jesus spoke and the matter was put to rest, or was it?
David not only understood the need for spiritual cleansing, but yearned for God’s healing touch on his life. Psalm 51:7 was penned as a result of David’s brokenness and repentance over his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. His heart cried out to God, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
The prophet Jeremiah affirmed that a sin nature exists in everyone born of human parents. He wrote, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Reinhold Niebuhr believed the reality of a sin nature was so evident that he boldly stated, “The doctrine of original sin is the only empirically verifiable doctrine of the Christian faith.”
As a professional, it is often difficult to observe persons who have “not settled the matter” of their spiritual condition. Their inability to see themselves as sin-scarred human beings needful of a spiritual cleansing hinders their ability to appropriate divine healing. It is difficult for these individuals to maintain consistent and long-term victory over behaviors that sabotage the spiritually abundant life we were intended to enjoy (John 10:10).
Their most sincere and concerted efforts, noble though they are, can only result in intermittent outward compliance. Over time, self-sins cannot be restrained and some of those sins, self-love, self-pity, self-reliance, self-righteousness and self-aggrandizement, reveal themselves as intrinsic to the corrupt nature.
It is only when the Divine nature is permitted preeminence in the human heart, can victory over thought, word and deed be consistently exhibited in a surrendered life.
Jesus promises to eradicate the scarlet sins of the yielded heart, cleansing them white as snow. His contingency in this transaction, our willingness and obedience. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The promise of forgiveness brings hope and healing to the newly surrendered in Christ while reassuring the redeemed that confession and forgiveness will be an ongoing experience throughout their spiritual journey.
The freshly fallen snow persistently serves as a reminder of God’s goodness. When the crisp white powder lay heavy as a blanket over the darkened terrain of our landscape, the visual cue prompts us to think of Christ. God’s gift to humanity, the grace that saves, redeems and bids the hungry soul to “settle the matter” and come, “eat the good things of the land.”
Dear Father, that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit (John 3:6). For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53). For you have clothed us with garments of salvation and arrayed us in a robe of your righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). We love and adore you, O Lord, our God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.