May 27, 2008, 6:26 AM
“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 as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
Oftentimes we tend to avoid those we have wronged, even when it has not come to their knowledge as yet that we have offended them. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they went into hiding. It is futile to think we can run away from God who is Omni-present, that is, present everywhere. “Where can I hide from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” (Psalm 139:7-8) The psalmist confirms that it is practically impossible to hide from God, however hard we try. God takes the initial step to get us out of hiding. He is sending out an invitation. He says ‘Come!’
Running away from God is not the ideal thing to do either. When we offend God we must run towards him rather than be tormented by our guilt. Freedom from guilt is offered by none other than him. When the burden of our sins weighs heavily on our shoulders, we must seek to offload. Our Lord Jesus promises to help us discharge, but first we must come to him. We cannot do it on our own for as long as we try. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) We must come just as we are with our sin-load. He promises to cleanse us wholly, to be able to start afresh.
Just as a plant needs water and crops the rain, so we need Jesus who is the water of life in order for us to live a life that is worthy of our status as children of God. With the ‘water of life’ we can be “like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever (it) does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3) Life is not about eating and drinking but rather basking in the love and protection that our Saviour Jesus gives.
In the book of Malachi mention is made of Jesus as “The Sun of Righteousness.” (Malachi 4:2) The sun’s rays sustain life by the warmth and the light that elbow out darkness. Nothing survives on planet earth without light. Come to him, he is beckoning to each and everyone irrespective of your status – race, class or creed, to come into his light that would brighten your life. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
To become productive, the branches of the grapevine must stay firmly attached to the vine which is its life-source. It is practically impossible for the branches to live detached from the vine - that would mean death. Just as fish out of water will die, the branch cut off from the vine will not survive. This world is not our home, though we may live in it, we are just passing through. This world is not intended to be our permanent abode either. This is the more reason for us to live as refugees. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
Jesus bids us to come to him without worrying about our credentials. You may be thinking you do not match up to the basic requirements. Far from it! Jesus welcomes sinners, he says; “For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13b) If for one reason or the other you have strayed away and broken links with the Source of life it is time to return to the Father and bask in his unconditional love.
Paul admonishes that to “the man who trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is accredited for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5) It means that if you had an awful past the fact that you have answered his call will not only cleanse all your sins, but you will be made just, forgiven as if you have never done any wrong. All our sins were paid for in full on the cross of Calvary when Jesus was crucified.
God keeps no record of wrongs. Why? Because his love is so vast that there is no sin that we can commit that could sever our relationship with him. (Romans 8:38) He sees humanity through the finished work of his Son who has paid for all our sins – past, present and future. This he did some two thousand years ago.
This invitation is directed, without obligation, to all who do not know the Saviour of the world. “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17)