Turn

Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

Words like “wicked” and “evil” are strong words. We tend to reserve them for the world’s worst criminals and killers, men whose crimes against humanity bring death and suffering to thousands. Maybe it’s hard to see that they have any application to people like you or me.

But the Bible tells us: “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is no difference. Call it what you want. Sin, evil, wickedness infects us all. It may show itself in different ways. Some of them are more subtle. They can be more easily hidden. But there is no denying it, and the day of our death will prove it beyond any doubt. Sin is the reason we die–every one of us. “The wages of sin is death,” Paul wrote the Romans. That’s the ultimate proof that “wicked” and “evil” apply to us, too.

But Isaiah also promises us something better. “Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” God has turned us to faith in him as the source of mercy and pardon. Mercy is a “heart” word. It tells us that the Lord doesn’t merely follow some unbending rules or principles in the way he treats us. He isn’t merely following a formula in the way he runs our lives. When he sees our pain or our difficulties, it moves him. He feels for us and he intends to bring us relief.

That mercy starts with his forgiveness. “He will freely pardon.” We can create a lot of sin in our lives. The sum total of the world’s sin is immeasurably bigger. But God’s pardon, his forgiveness, dwarfs it all. There is no end or limit to it. It never runs out. How could it when we consider the price God paid to make it possible?

Your God knows what it is like to have a close member of the family die. He gave up his one and only Son. He sacrificed Jesus to pay for every sin you or I or any of the billions of people who have ever lived on this planet ever committed. If he loves us that much, if he has made that sacrifice to pay for our sins, he is not going to become stingy in actually applying his forgiveness to his people. If he loves us that much, he will not be stingy with any of his gifts.

Do you remember these words from Romans 8? “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, gracious give us all things.” God freely pardons. He freely gave up his Son to make it possible. This mercy and forgiveness that costs us not a penny is what we commonly call his grace. Would he love us so much, give us so much, and do so much for us, just to destroy us all in the end? No! He will freely give us every good thing that we need for this life and the one to come as well.

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