"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2) This is the word of the Lord to God's people through the prophet Isaiah. The Lord points out the problem and then begins to explain the solution. In the end, He comes as our Savior to offer eternal life with Him. "No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity...The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths...We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows...The Lord looked and was displeased that there was not justice. He saw that there was no one, He was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so His own arm worked salvation for Him, and His own righteousness sustained Him. He put on righteousness as His breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak." (Isaiah 59:4-17)
The Lord's concern for His people is obvious in Isaiah 59. He sees their sin and wants redemption for them. His great love brings Him to the conclusion that they cannot be saved apart from Him. He is ready to go to war against the enemy of their souls. Isaiah completes the prophecy: "'So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,' says the Lord. 'As for me,’ says the Lord, ‘this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My Words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendant's descendants,' says the Lord, 'from this time and forevermore.'" (Isaiah 59:19-21- NKJ)
Sin had separated man from God; however, in God's great love and amazing grace, He forged a plan that meant He would have to sacrifice everything. His plan involved the sacrifice of His own Son. Isaiah tells the entire story of the sacrifice in Isaiah 53. Here is what verse 11 and 12 tell us: "After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
We find the declaration of the Lord regarding sin in Isaiah 43:25. "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remember your sins no more." Isaiah gives us a picture of how the Lord's redemption changes the appearance of sin: "...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) The prophet Jeremiah also addresses the issue of sin and how the Lord deals with it: "...For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Jeremiah 31:34)
The New Testament confirms what is said in the Old and gives us more details. The writer of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah word for word in Hebrews 8:12. Not only did God take our sins, but He gave us something in return. "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) In order for us to obtain this righteousness the Lord requires something from us. "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:22-24) Here is the bottom line: "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." (Romans 4:25)
How grateful we should be that a gift that is so magnanimous and eternal was given freely to all who believe. We have been saved from eternal damnation and given a future in the heavenly realms with our Savior. Our future is as bright as the glory of God, and what is waiting for us is beyond our imagination. (I Corinthians 2:9)
Joan E. Mathias