The Bible is full of passages of God’s tremendous love. One that has again recently awed me is Isaiah 43:22-25.
Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel. You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses. I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
This paragraph is so rich in meaning. I would like to share just a few thoughts about it. Note especially the three “wearied”. They didn’t weary themselves for the Lord. Neither did the Lord burden and weary them with offerings. Instead they burdened and wearied him with their sins. How does he react? He blots them out and remembers them no more! What a wonderful Gospel gem that is.
But what makes it all the more brilliant is the setting in which Isaiah placed it. All around it, from chapters 40 – 48, God is declaring his glory. He is the Creator. He is the Lord of History. He predicts the future. He alone is God. Over and over he repeats such thoughts – often by contrasting them with the utter worthlessness of idols. Fewer places does God emphasize his glory more than he does in these chapters of Isaiah. It would be an interesting study to see how many times God says, “I” in them. I’m sure it is well over a hundred times.
That God is incomparable and all-glorious is the setting. But only the setting. In this setting Isaiah has placed brilliant diamonds of pure grace like the one above. This incomparable, all-glorious Lord who deserves nothing but praise and worship from his creatures, instead receives from them their stinking sins and repulsive offense. So much so that they are a burden to him. Especially note that they did nothing to mitigate this. No words of apology. No acts of contrition. Talk about audacity and stupidity. Talk about irritating the Lion. We duck for cover as we expect an unleashing of his wrath.
But instead what do we hear? “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgression, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Talk about undeserved grace! If God would have punished us only partially for our sins – that would have been extremely merciful. If he would have put us on probation – that would have been unbelievable. But to blot them out and forget them – we can only believe that because God himself says it.
God has blotted out our sins. That is why Jesus came at Christmas. That is what the angel announced: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) Honor him by being totally convinced that he has blotted out your sins and that he no longer remembers them. Worship him by giving him every single bit of credit for your living with heavenly Father. Praise him by telling others about his wonderful response to mankind’s sin – to their sin and your sin. Have a joyous Christmas knowing God has done it all!