Isaiah 1:18-20 NKJV
“ ‘Come now, and 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 be as wool. If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the lands; But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword’; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Reason together means “to come to a legal decision.” God is not a God of compromise, and we must align our opinion of sin up with His. We must come into agreement with God concerning the seriousness of our sins. God is a holy God and sin can not enter into His presence. Man is full of wickedness and far from innocence. Deceit fills our hearts (thinking, feelings and actions). Without God’s plan for salvation we would be hopelessly lost, and unable to enter into His’ presence. Through God’s plan our sins, which are as “scarlet” can be made as “white as snow”.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.”
God is willing to forgive (pardon) man’s sins if they will repent and turn to Him. We can receive this forgiveness only through Jesus Christ. Jesus left His home in heaven and came to this world (born as a baby) for one reason and one reason only, to die. Jesus was willing to come and take our punishment for our sins. He took all our sins upon Him. He became our sacrifice for our sin.
Matthew 27:27-31 NKJV
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.”
Prior to going to the cross, the soldiers put a scarlet robe upon Jesus. On the cross Jesus put our scarlet sins upon Himself. Jesus, God the Son, never sinned, but He was willing to take our sins upon His own body so that we could be declared righteous in the eyes of God, the Father. So that we could be in “right standing” with God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus is the reason that God had extended to us an offer of forgiveness. If we choose (are willing) to accept the offer (salvation through Jesus) that God has given us and obey, than we will be blessed.
Isaiah 1:19 NKJV
“If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the lands”
However, if we choose not (refuse) to accept the free gift of salvation and continue to rebel against God we will be punished.
Isaiah 1:20 NKJV
“But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword’; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Each and every person (man, woman, boy or girl) must realize that there are only two kinds of people, the saved and the lost. God does not see gender or color or age. When He looks at a person He either sees the ugliness (and stench) of sin or He see the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. We will either be willing to accept the sacrifice that was made for us and be obedient to God, or we will refuse the sacrifice that was made for us and rebel against God.
Holidays in the Bible were holy days that were designed to point people to Jesus Christ and to show the great love that God has for man. Not for the sake of just having fun or for a religious exercise. Paul was made aware that the church in Galatia had perverted the gospel of salvation through grace. The church was quick to keep the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. They observed all the holy days (the holidays) religiously. They had drifted away from a relationship with God, and it had been replaced with religion (ceremonies performed out of duty or regulations). They tried to honored God with their lips and not their hearts. They had lost their “first love.”
Galatians 4:8-11 NKJV
“But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.”
The church in Ephesus had also left its first love. They had strayed away from the most important thing, to love the Lord God with all their heart, soul and mind. They had allowed other things to take God’s most important spot in their lives and in their church.
Revelation 2:4-5 NKJV
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.”
There are many in the church and in the world that do the same as the Galatians. They try to honor God with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. They like the celebration and all its trimming, but they don’t love God. Nor do they respect or reverence Him. For the majority of the people in this world God is no where to be found in their holiday celebrations. Man has taken holy days and perverted them to be what He wants them to be and not what God intended them to be.
Matthew 7:6 NKJV
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before the swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”
We should not take what is precious and holy, and give it to the world. The world can not understand the things of God, therefore it (the world) will mold them (the things of God) and pervert them into what it wants, into its image.
John 14:15-17 NKJV
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you will know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
1 Corinthians 2:13-16 NKJV
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For who has know the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
As the church celebrates this year, may she repent and return to the Lord, and truly make the days of celebrations “holy” days. May she boldly declare that Jesus is the reason behind the holidays (holy days). May she use these days to point the lost, the hurting and the dying to Jesus Christ. May the church use these days to draw closer than she has ever been to the Father and to experience His love for Her in an even grater measure.
As the church returns to her first love God will once again fill her with His wonderful light. Where the presence of the Lord seems to have departed, He will once again fill the place with His glory. The lampstand that was removed will be replaced. The Word that seemed to be silenced will boldly go forth in a powerful way. The mission of the church will go forth when we remember to keep first things first.
Matthew 22:37-38 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”