‘Come and settle the matter’

We believe in… the forgiveness of sins…

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD.
‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.”

The first step towards restoring the relationship between us and God is to accept His assessment of us: we are unclean, guilty sinners who need cleansing and forgiveness.

Nobody likes to think of themselves as being ‘dirty’. We pride ourselves on our standards (such as they are); rarely will we admit the uncomfortable truth that we fall short of them. And if we really do live up to our own standards, it’s a sure sign that we have set the bar too low.

Nobody can cleanse themselves from sin by their own efforts. Isaiah talks about scarlet and crimson not only because they were strident colours, but also because they were fast dyes that could not be removed by any amount of washing. In C S Lewis’ book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace is unable to undo the dragon enchantment that he has brought upon himself, and he has to submit to Aslan’s ministrations in order to become human again. This illustrates the fact that we cannot rid ourselves of the stain of sin; we must go to Jesus to have it removed.

But… if we put ourselves completely into His hands, the impossible will be achieved: every sin will be blotted out, and every stain dissolved. “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)

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