I hurriedly pulled the clothes out of the dryer until I noticed a huge streak of blue on one of my favorite shirts. Upon closer inspection I found that most of the articles in the load had similar marks. After rummaging around in the basket, I found a blue ink pen fully emptied of its contents. This incident happened several years before Google provided instantaneous advice in these types of situations. I had heard that hairspray could remove ink, so I repeatedly sprayed, rubbed, and rinsed until the Aqua net fumes were more than I could handle. Finally, I surrendered to the permanence of the stains and threw out the entire load.
While the loss of those clothes frustrated me, I wasn’t passionately committed to them. I tried to make them clean, but I couldn’t. At times in my life, I have felt like that stained laundry and wondered if I’m worth God’s effort in the midst of all my struggles and failures. Thankfully, our God doesn’t treat us as expendable. In fact, He is passionately committed to His people!
A prophet named Isaiah illustrated this truth at the very beginning of His Old Testament book. He pointed out some of the sin stains in the lives of God’s people describing their rebellion against God and failure to recognize God’s care for them. (Isaiah 1:2-5) The people of Judah went through the motions of their religion without a close relationship with God.
Let’s bring Isaiah’s words a little closer to home. I know I can relate to projecting a spiritual image on the outside (social media, church services, group gatherings) while struggling to live the truths I espouse or failing to nurture my relationship with God – especially when no one is looking. This is exactly the kind of thing God was addressing through Isaiah’s message!
The stain of sin in my life can leave me discouraged, but the good news is that God didn’t end the first chapter of Isaiah with doom and gloom. He offered hope! He didn’t give up on His stained people the way I gave up on my laundry.
Isaiah 1:18 says, “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 like crimson, they shall become like wool.”
The scarlet or crimson mentioned in Isaiah 1:18 referenced a dye made from an insect that permanently marked garments such as the clothing of the high priest and the hangings in the Tabernacle. The hearers would have understood it to be something like the ink pen stains in my laundry with no way to remove the color once it had been applied. As Christ followers today, we see in this verse a picture of the work of Jesus on our behalf. Through the blood of Christ—not through any amount of human scrubbing—the stain of our sin can be removed permanently.
If God had hope for the stubborn people of Judah, we know there is hope for us as well! No matter how far we’ve sunk in our depravity, God remains committed to us. He invites us to turn from our sin and turn toward Him. Only with repentant hearts are we able to live as the people God created us to be—those who love Him and love others.
And one more thing: You can’t out-sin God’s grace. The lies the enemy may be using against you like …
- you are just too much to handle;
- you will never be able to change;
- your sins are worse than others; or
- the stain of your mistakes will always follow you
… are NOT true. Your God is passionately committed to you!
I need constant reminders of these truths about God’s love, His wrath toward sin, and the sacrifice of His own Son to remove my sin stains. Even if it feels like your life has been through the spin cycle followed by heat that set the stains of your past, you can become white as snow because the God you serve is passionately committed to you.
This is a teaching excerpted from Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God More which releases today!