Hope Amidst Iniquity

Have you ever been so far down in sin that you wondered if the Lord could or would forgive you? Have you ever wondered if you could ever get past something awful you did in the past? Are you dealing with the consequences of such a sin and you’ve seen those who called your friend or family fall away? Have you ever been this bad?

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”

– Isaiah 1:2-3, ESV

The good news is that God’s grace and forgiveness are simply unbelievable. The ox is not known for its intelligence. Neither is the donkey. That’s why God, through Isaiah, compared Judah to the ox and the donkey. God’s people were acting so awful that they made an ox or a donkey look smart by comparison. Most of the rest of chapter 1 of Isaiah is a litany of what Judah had done wrong. It’s bad enough that most of us would say, “I’m bad, but I’m not that bad.”

The truth of the matter is that iniquity, any iniquity, is unacceptable to God. We may call it big or we may call it small, but God calls it sin and that’s not okay by Him. Yet even as He condemned Judah, here’s what He offered:

“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.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
– Isaiah 1:18-20, ESV

Simply amazing, isn’t it? Why does Judah deserve a second chance? It didn’t. None of us do. God’s standard is perfection and that was made clear in the Garden. Yet God repeatedly gives us chance after chance after chance. Why? God does it because He has chosen to do so. It’s not because of anything about us. It’s because He has chosen to offer grace.

This offer we see in verses 18-20 was made to the nation of Judah. However, forgiveness is presented to us as individuals time and time again. So while we can’t ascribe all the good things that God offered the nation, we can take the part about our sins being removed from us. Other passages of Scripture make that clear. God removes our iniquity from us and restores our fellowship with Him.

It doesn’t matter how bad your past is. It doesn’t matter what you’re involved in right now. If you’re willing to walk away from that iniquity, if you’re willing to put God first, He will cleanse you. Note the Scripture says, “Let us reason together.” God wants to talk about it. He’s not pushing away; He’s calling home. We don’t deserve it, but still He offers. If there’s something you’re struggling with, something you wonder if it can be forgiven, give God a chance. Answer His call. Come (back) to Him. Let Him restore you. Let Him remove that sin. Let Him present you with that full and abundant life the Son has promised if we would just seek after Him first. Let go, and let Him.

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