James Smith, 1842
"Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet — they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson — they shall be as wool!" Isaiah 1:18.
Perhaps you have been reflecting upon your past life, you have been thinking over your ingratitude for innumerable favors; your lack of spirituality, and conformity to the image of Christ; your backwardness to attend to spiritual duties; your neglect of privileges; your conformity to the world; your unfruitfulness in the church; and what appears to you the entire uselessness of your life. You have neglected to mortify sin; you have occasionally indulged evil tempers; you have dishonored your God in innumerable ways; and now you are tempted to despond, and are ready to conclude that such a fruitless fig-tree — can only be fit fuel for everlasting burnings!
The remembrance pains your heart, and you are ready to exclaim, "I have been expecting Heaven, and thinking that when I die that I would inherit the promises. But alas! if I should have deceived myself, if the Lord should say to me, Depart, I know you not! How dreadful! how fearful would this be!"
Satan perhaps is endeavoring to nurse your despondency, by keeping your sins before you, and by leading away your mind from the Lord Jesus Christ. But in these very circumstances the Lord addresses you, and says, "COME NOW, and let us reason together." He admits that your sins are scarlet; yes — red like crimson; that from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot — there is no soundness in you. But He says, "Come now, and let us reason together."
Come then, and talk the matter over with your gracious and forgiving Lord. He might banish you to Tophet — but He invites you to His throne! Take the name of Jesus with you! Draw your arguments from His infinite atonement, faithful promises, and prevalent intercession; come and prove Him faithful, come and find Him true. He will say to you, when you are humbled at His feet, as He did to one of old, "Son, Daughter, be of good cheer — your sins are forgiven; go in peace." He will, in love to your soul, cast all your sins behind His back; prove Himself ready to save you; and give you joy and peace in believing.
Doubt not, for He is Jehovah, He changes not — and therefore it is that we are not consumed. He rests in His love; and as far as the east is from the west — so far will He remove your transgressions from you. He can pardon your sins with ease — for Jesus died. He will pardon them with pleasure — for He has promised. The word is gone out of His mouth in righteousness — and shall not return void. He cannot deny Himself, therefore He will have mercy, and abundantly pardon.
Shame may well cover you — but let not despondency brood over you; you but grieve Him more — by harboring hard thoughts of Him; you do but dishonor His free grace — by wishing you had something in self to recommend you. You question His veracity, while you think
He will reject you. He says, "I will never cast out;" He means what He says, He always acts according to His word. He never did cast out one yet, nor will He cast out you. Arise then, and go to your Father — and as the prodigal was gladly received, kindly treated, freely forgiven, lovingly accepted, and greatly honored — so shall you be. Remember this, believe this — for
Not all the sins that you have wrought;
So much His tender affections grieve,
As this unkind injurious thought,
That He's unwilling to forgive.
What though your sins are black as night,
Or glowing like the crimson morn
Immanuel's blood will make them white
As snow through the pure ether borne.
Angels and men resign their claim
To pity, mercy, love, and grace;
These glories crown Jehovah's name
With an incomparable blaze.