Isaiah 1:18-20 King James Version
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
In the third of the series on Repentance, Pastor Barclift reemphasizes that repentance is a turning around by changing one’s mind and accepting Christ which changes your life. Repentance comes by conviction which is the Holy Spirit working in us. In Isaiah, the Bible talks about this process The first part of this is to “Come”. When the Holy Spirit has placed conviction in a person’s heart, Christ is waiting for us to simply come to him. God is willing to be there waiting on us as the Holy Spirit has drawn us there. If you find yourself thinking about God more, that is the working of the Holy Spirit. Being dissatisfied with where you are in life and wondering if maybe God could help is also the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. Never does God turn away from us. He doesn’t judge us and he never fails us.
The next word after come is now. God longs for us to come now. Our problems formed in the past, the rest of our lives are in the future, but God longs for us to be resting in his arms, now! When we go to him, he lifts our burden and gives us rest. He leads us to repentance and gives us a whole new outlook on the problems around us. We can trust him. Amid trouble, it is common to try to turn things around all on our own. God says turn to him NOW. Now is always a good time for repentance. We don’t need to clean up our lives first, so we are worthy to come to him. We are never worthy, but he asks us to come and receive his unmerited grace and mercy because Christ’s sacrifice of death and his resurrection cleanses us and then we are worthy. Being too busy isn’t a good reason to wait. Waiting until your time of death is not a good idea either, because we do not know when that might be. God says, come now. He longs for a relationship with us and even if we don’t realize it, we really do long for the kind of relationship only he can give.
When God starts to reason with us, we soon see that we will need repentance and the change of attitude that brings us into relationship with him. His reasoning with us does not end up in his
dictating our lives to us, but to bring us into a fuller relationship so we can better understand his love and change our lives.
The 18th verse also says, “let us reason together”. God is saying to come to him so we can reason together. This is the Lord God Creator of the Universe. The God who knew us in our mother’s womb. (Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”) who longs for us to come so we can reason with him! That is God’s love.
He wants us to come and draw near to him for us to reason with him. James 4:8a “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (NKJV) When we feel the burdens of life and the Holy Spirit begins to draw us to God, God’s desire is to lift that burden from us. Matthew 11: 28 KJV “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” People need God and God will help us through our problems. Remembering the blessings God has poured out on us in the past is a good place to start. God has shown us in the past that he has been with us, and our attitude of gratitude as we start to reason with God helps us calm our spirit to further listen to his voice. He has not failed in the past and he never does.
God shows us our sin. Isaiah compares our sins as a bright scarlet against a purity of God that is as white as snow. Sin is sin. One sin is not more serious than another in God’s eyes. All sin separates us from the holiness of God. We can stop rationalizing that our sins are not as bad as the next person’s, so we don’t need to go to God unless things get worse. Our own pride and selfishness can keep us from repentance and thus keep us from God. Repentance is not the process of God beating us down but of relieving us of the burden of sin and thereby, building us up! Thanks be to God!
It seems so much easier to see our sin as not so bad and be frustrated when we see sin in others that we think are somehow being overlooked. God tells us in Matthew 7: 1-3 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote (splinter) that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam (plank) that is in thine own eye?” When we spend time looking at the problems of others, we delay that “Come now” part of God’s instructions. We all have pride and selfishness that God longs to free us from that requires us to stand before God, confess and repent! Relationships in life and in the church can be hard. Church is a place for those who need help. It is not a place for judgment, but for loving and building up each other. We all have sins and there is no place in the church for rejecting others. God didn’t reject us. By doing this we can follow what Hosea said in Hosea 10:12 KJV “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” When we are merciful, non-judgmental and accepting, we break up the fallow ground. That is the ground that is plowed and ready to accept the seed of the Word of God so it can take root and grow.
Once we come before God, he will reason with us, show us our sins so we can repent and accept his forgiveness and direction to be aware of those sins, so we can trust in him to help us not
repeat them. As we trust and obey, we will see the fruits of our repentance as he builds us up into a richer, fuller and better relationship with him.