Sins Like Scarlet, White as Snow | Morning Routine for October 21

“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. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  —Isaiah 1:18–20 (ESV)

In the context of today’s passage, the Lord is speaking to His people, Judah. In verse 10, He calls them ‘rulers of Sodom’ and ‘people of Gomorrah’ because of their sinfulness. But in verse 16, God tells them to ‘wash yourselves’ and repent, to ‘learn to do good; seek justice’. It is at this point that the words of the Lord in today’s text come.

When the Lord says, ‘come let us reason together’, He does not envision a debate or a dialogue. Rather, the sense is more along the lines of ‘come let us reason in court’. The Lord, the judge, then says something remarkable: “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” He declares to them what their sins are­—like scarlet, red like crimson. But God also declares what they will be—white as snow, like wool. Behold the redemption of God! But the Lord requires more from His people. Although God does the cleansing—and in the light of the New Testament, we see this redemption comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—He warns his people that just as blessings follow obedience, their disobedience also has consequences. 

As you encounter your own failures to live up to God’s standards, come into the Lord’s courtroom. Come to the bench of God, the righteous judge. Will you be found guilty? Yes, for we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But this Judge is like no other. The Judge has offered His Son as atonement for your sins, that you might say, “Though my sins were like scarlet, they are white as snow.” Now, having been forgiven and cleansed by His grace, walk in obedience, doing good and seeking justice. And as you have opportunity to help your children or students recognize and deal with their own failures, invite them, too, to come to God, the righteous judge who cleanses.