“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 as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isa 1:18)
Let’s get it straight, God did not reject his people because they were sinners. That would be like rejecting a cat because it purrs or a dog because it wags it tail. We cannot ever be anything else but sinful because it’s the nature we inherited from Adam. God hates sin but he has great compassion for us in our sinful state because he sees the pain it causes us.
When Isaiah went among the people to preach repentance he wasn’t calling them to a pristinely sinless life, he was calling them to relationship and a different attitude towards sin. Most particularly he was calling them to be honest about it.
He told them that God was a God who could be reasoned with come to him honestly confessing your sin and you will be forgiven. In fact he has to forgive you because he made a covenant saying he would. This covenant is signed in the blood of Jesus, sealed by the Holy Spirit and delivered by the Gospel that has been preached round the world. This truth, says Jesus, is more certain and more permanent than the universe itself.
How hurtful then it must be that people even those that claim to be his people still want to live dishonestly. Dishonesty is Pride’s most cherished friend. Our covering up the truth is the same as saying that we no longer want God in our lives that we would rather take our punishment in Hell than to be honest with him. It is the absolute enemy of grace because it denies the very substance of God’s plan of salvation for this universe.
There is nothing more prone to disaster than a relationship based on dishonesty. Every parent will tell you that they can cope with just about anything their children do except lying because the liar is saying “I place so little value in our relationship and your love that am prepared to live in deceit I don’t want you to know the truth because I don’t want you to know me”.
James tells us there is only one way for a Christian to live: “Above all, my brothers, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned”. (James 5:12)
What he is saying is that we are to live transparent honest lives before God and before mankind. We have been saved from eternal separation from God by the Living Word. This word is truth and it is the only thing that can set us free.
When you deny truth you burn the bridge that can take you to salvation. Paul tells us that we are to avoid like the plague the temptation to crawl back into our old life of condemnation, shame and broken relationships. This means above all else that we stop being dishonest and tell the truth.
It’s a bit scary, but it is safer in the long run and it beats having to have an infallible memory.
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