Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18
What if our clothes were more functional, having the ability to clean themselves after we dropped ketchup or mustard or spilled a drink on them? Well, according to the BBC, engineers in China have developed a special “coating which causes cotton to clean itself of stains and odors when exposed to ultraviolet lights.” Can you imagine the implications of having self-cleaning clothes?
A self-cleaning coating might work for stained clothes, but only God can clean a stained soul. In ancient Judah, God was angry with His people because they had “turned their backs on” Him, given themselves to corruption and evil, and were worshiping false gods (Isaiah 1:2–4). But to make matters worse, they tried to clean themselves by offering sacrifices, burning incense, saying many prayers, and gathering together in solemn assemblies. Yet their hypocritical and sinful hearts remained (vv. 12–13). The remedy was for them to come to their senses and with a repentant heart bring the stains on their souls to a holy and loving God. His grace would cleanse them and make them spiritually “white as snow” (v. 18).
When we sin, there’s no self-cleaning solution. With a humble and repentant heart, we must acknowledge our sins and place them under the cleansing light of God’s holiness. We must turn from them and return to Him. And He, the only One who cleans the stains of the soul, will offer us complete forgiveness and renewed fellowship.
When the Holy Spirit reveals your sins to you, what’s your response? How does John describe the process of bringing your sin to God and repenting of it (see 1 John 1:9)?
Father, forgive me for ignoring or trying to get rid of my own sin. I know only You can clean the stains of my soul. I acknowledge and repent of my self-sufficiency and turn to You.
The book of Isaiah is a vision the prophet received from God addressed to Israel, a people in rebellion (1:1–2). God was incensed at their wickedness and sin (v. 4). As commentator Barry Webb writes: Their “worship had been divorced from justice, and the fatherless and the widow had become the chief victims” (see v. 17). Their sacrifices were merely a means to an end. The prophet Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah, states what God requires: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Yet despite His righteous anger, God extended this loving invitation: “Turn to me and be saved” (Isaiah 45:22).