“”Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18, NASB.
The word says “Come.” There is a place where you have not come to, a place where God is. He will not move, He bids you to move. He calls you to action, to change, He calls us to make the choice.
The word says “now.” We are not bid to finish some other task, follow some other path, pursue some other desire for a time. There is not a season when you come, and another season when you do not. Just as therefore now no condemnation, and just as we are to come boldly to the throne of grace, so we are to come NOW to the place of reasoning.
The word says “let us reason together.” He wants us to reason TOGETHER. Amazingly, He calls us not to a lecture, a one way street. He calls us into a dialog. It matters what we think, what we question, what we doubt, what we don’t understand. Our side of the dialog is important. He calls us to reason with Him. this is the way of the Lord, the god of truth. This means, of all things, that God wants to listen to us, and He wants to talk to us. We do not come to submit without understanding. In the root of submission without reasoning, there still lurks the doubt, the rebellion. God appeals to our doubts. God appeals to our minds. God wants to dialog, to reason with us. We believe we are beyond redemption, He wants to convince us otherwise. This is not a path of blind repentance, of behaviors pressed upon an unwilling soul. This is a path for the convinced. This is a relationship where doubts are expressed and explored.
The word says “Says the LORD.” The Hebrew word here is YWHW, ‘the existing One’. We use the word Lord because from antiquity it has been the translation. However, what kind of “LORD” bids the guilty to come and reason? He calls to us, not as a feudal king demanding obeisance, but as the One who exists from all of eternity into all of eternity, who knows the mystery of our existence. He calls to us as the One who knows us, who sees our doubts, our guilt. He calls to us to reason because He knows many things, and He knows them with love.
More importantly, it is the living God, the God who is real, who is calling. He is there, and He is not silent. We are not asked to dialog with a myth, a wishful vapor. He expects us to talk, and He expects us to hear when He responds. There is a real God who listens, and who talks, a God whose voice we are able to apprehend. Right now, God is there, God is living, God is real.
The word says “Though your sins are as scarlet; though they are red like crimson.” You may think you have some small sin. Scarlet, however, is the hue of murder, the stain of shed blood. It is the stain of blood on a garment. Also notice that it does not say, “though your sins MIGHT BE as scarlet.” He doesn’t mean, they might be pretty bad, or they might not. They are that bad. You are not with God or He would not call you to His place; you have wandered into a place where God is not and where God will not manifestly go. You have left the place of reason, you have gone to a place of insanity. You have not loved Him, you have not really sought Him, you have followed every distraction and indulged every appetite. You have fled his reason, disbelieved His mercy. You have desired every miserable fleshly thing, and hated all those who thwarted you. Your heart has never really been in it at all. You have taken a thousand wrong turns and made a thousand wrong decisions and you have been led to an unreasonable place. Your sins are real. Your guilt is true. Your thoughts are dim and your desires are small and futile. You do not need to worry about your theoretical Adamic sin nature, you have plenty of normal sin to go around. You have harmed your spouse, harmed your friends, harmed your colleagues, harmed your children, because of your selfishness and desire for other things. Your secret sin, your inner turmoil, your genuine and present guilt – these true things are what God wants to reason with you about. Even if you have killed, even if you have murdered, God bids you come, to reason with Him, to be cleansed, to be helped, to be forgiven.
The word says “they will be white as snow, they will be like wool.” He makes a promise. He does not say, come you guilty, and I will punish you. I will slay you. I will make you pay for what you have done! You may think you are sorry but I will exact my vengeance! You have never paid enough for your guilt, but I will see to that! His promise is of healing. His promise is of cleansing. The garment with a crimson dye is meant to be laundered and have the hue remain. It is part of the fabric, it has bonded to the warp and woof of the material. It is not easily cleansed. Justice for our sins bonds to us, it sticks to us like our very beating heart. He bids us come, He knows reasons and has power to remove the terrible stain, the dye that no deed and no repentance and no thought and no philosophy and no education and no counsel can ever remove.