“Come, let’s consider your options,” says the LORD. “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow; though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet, you can become white like wool.” (NET)
“I said, ‘Too bad for me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin. My eyes have seen the king, the LORD who commands armies.’ 6 But then one of the seraphs flew toward me. In his hand was a hot coal he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, ‘Look, this coal has touched your lips. Your evil is removed; your sin is forgiven.’ 8 I heard the voice of the sovereign master say, “Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?” I answered, ‘Here I am, send me!'” (NET)
I love the wording of the NET Bible version in Isaiah 1:18 – “Come, let’s consider your options” – not much of a decision there, really. Either be covered in sin and condemned to hell, or be covered with Christ’s blood, forgiven and go to Heaven. For such an obvious choice, so many miss it. Why? Deception. Ignorance. Rebellion. Election.
The master deceiver does his job well. Many tools lie in his arsenal – condemnation, oppression, distraction, busyness, anything to keep us from seeing our need for salvation. But we can contribute to our own deception by remaining in ignorance. Laziness helps our ignorance along if we expect God’s truth to be spoon fed to us rather than seeking Him.
Our rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, but we often sanitize our sins to make them acceptable. Excuses can abound to make one avoid accountability. This is not surprising, because our flesh’s natural disposition is to avoid doing anything that requires facing something potentially ugly in ourselves. Why? Our pride and self esteem might be injured. (You probably picked up on the sarcasm there). Or we want to be our own master, assert our independence. Every person I have known who rebelled and craved independence regrets that decision later. But still something in us craves “freedom” from anyone’s control, which can cramp our style and choices, even if those choices harm us and separate us from fellowship with our loving God. Rebellion is actually insanity – What or who are we rebelling from? The One Who offers us true unconditional acceptance – why run away from that?
Ultimately, in God’s sovereignty, He already knows who belongs to Him before we even have our eyes opened to understand that we need saving. Where is our responsibility, then? We are unique in all of God’s creation, in that we have reasoning and free will. When God’s plan of salvation is shared, people have a choice – to accept this great salvation or to reject it. Yet even in that choice it is solely the grace of God that enables us to make that choice.
Isaiah was humbled and desperate for his sins to be removed when confronted with God’s Holiness in comparison to his wretched sinful condition. His response could only be to throw himself upon the mercy of God. His sins atoned for, Isaiah exuberantly pronounced, “Here I am! Send me!”. I want to have this same wonder and amazement over God’s salvation every day of every year. May He help us to have the same zeal to help others recognize and receive the gift of eternal life.
Lord, help us to see how very vile we are apart from Your loving grace and salvation. Thank you, dear sweet LORD, for opening my eyes to see and know You and to choose the best option of my life. I did not deserve it, I never will – but please help me to never forget how great a salvation You have given and to live worthy of this amazing gift. Amen.