Isaiah’s outline of the steps to forgiveness

We have the ability, through faith in Messiah, to gain the privilege of being reconciled with our Maker when we realize that our lives are not in alignment with his purposes.

Let wicked people abandon their ways. Let evil people abandon their thoughts. Let them return to the LORD, and he will show compassion to them. Let them return to our God, because he will freely forgive them.

Isaiah 55:7

People have a need to be forgiven. Whether it’s from wrongs they have committed with other individuals or whether it’s for seemingly irreconcilable errors committed in life, humans will typically reach a point within their lives where forgiveness becomes a real need. It may not be something obvious to others or sometimes even themselves, but the need exists and persists until a crisis point is reached. Once that happens, something must be done to meet this need.

In the passage today, Isaiah outlines three things necessary to accomplish this with God when we feel our life has drifted from its moorings.

First, we must abandon our wicked ways that are contrary to his efforts. The cycles and patterns of destructive behavior have to be changed with a commitment to move beyond them.

This can be accomplished through the second aspect of abandoning our evil thoughts. This is not an injunction to mindless obedience, but a directive to change our habits of thinking that are keeping us trapped in the loop of non-productive or harmful behaviors. Nothing changes until our thought patterns are revised.

The third aspect is what Isaiah describes as returning to God. While this admonition was originally spoken to those in Israel who were familiar with God but had rejected him, the same encouragement exists for us who are seeking for a measure of spiritual peace that comes from the Creator of all things. Isaiah confirms this in the context of this passage when he writes:

Open your ears, and come to me! Listen so that you may live! I will make an everlasting promise to you- the blessings I promised to David. I made him a witness to people, a leader and a commander for people. You will summon a nation that you don’t know, and a nation that doesn’t know you will run to you because of the LORD your God, because of the Holy One of Israel. He has honored you.

Isaiah 55:3-5

Isaiah alludes to the fact that foreign nations would be drawn to the God of Israel because of the example of God’s faithfulness with David, and with his people. What was future to Isaiah is the present age we are living in. Because of the faithfulness of David’s “son,” Yeshua the Messiah, we have the ability, through faith in him, to gain the privilege of being reconciled with our Maker when we realize that our lives are not in alignment with his purposes.

…he gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in him. These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way-from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God.

John 1:12-13

Seek the LORD while he may be found. Call on him while he is near.

Isaiah 55:6

He is near even today and able to accept and forgive all who come to him with sincere motives and a willingness to abandon their past ways and past thinking. That need for forgiveness can be met today.

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

To walk in holiness, we must exchange the old man for the new man

We must present ourselves to God with each new day as those who have been resurrected from our old, sinful ways into a new life of righteousness.

… you are to put off concerning the former behavior the old man that is corrupt according to the desires of the deceit, and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man, which, according to God, was created in righteousness and kindness of the truth.

Ephesians 4:22-24

The way Paul conveys this instruction to the Ephesian believers is fascinating to me. He is conveying this idea that striving for holiness or being set apart is as simple as them taking off their old desires and putting on their new practices as if they were to imagine changing out an old worn-out coat for a new and durable one.

This new way of life is set apart from its opposite: the way of the world.

So I tell you and encourage you in the Lord’s name not to live any longer like other people in the world. Their minds are set on worthless things. They can’t understand because they are in the dark. They are excluded from the life that God approves of because of their ignorance and stubbornness.

Ephesians 4:17-18

This set-apartness was to come from being united with Messiah. Paul expresses this principle all throughout the book of Romans (and elsewhere). For believers to unite with Messiah was, in essence, to die to oneself and be united to him in new life, alternatively being described as clothing oneself with him.

Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.
Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Romans 13:14 Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Since the new man is representative of actions that represent the Messiah, then the old man being taken off, the one corrupted with its own desires, is likewise represented symbolically by Adam.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. …

What is sown is perishable; it is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so also are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man.

1 Corinthians 15:22; 42-49

To bear the likeness of the heavenly man was to put off the sinful desires, ignorance and stubbornness of the darkness of this world, and instead put on the righteous thinking and deeds of the Messiah by remaining obedient to him as Lord. Believers were to consider themselves as having been resurrected to new life in Messiah.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires. Do not present the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and present the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.

Romans 6:12-13

This is the walk of holiness that is set before every believer today, as well: to present ourselves to God with each new day as those who have been resurrected from our old, sinful ways into a new life of righteousness.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.