Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, "See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven." Isaiah 6:6-7
Forgiveness can be hard to ask for. It is humbling because it forces us to see and admit our imperfection. When extended, forgiveness can also be difficult to accept. After being forgiven, some people continue to act as if they are not forgiven. They continue behaving as if the relationship with that person has not been restored. When we have committed an offense, we must not only ask for forgiveness. We must also behave as if that forgiveness has been extended if forgiveness has, indeed, been offered. Isaiah knew what it was like to experience forgiveness and to live as if his relationship with God had been restored.
In Isaiah chapter 6, the prophet saw a vision of Jesus. He was awe struck by Jesus' holiness and, at the same time, grieved because of his own sin, which Jesus' holiness exposed. Upon recognizing his sinfulness, he immediately repented. He acknowledged that in the presence of a holy God, he was unclean. What happened next was amazing. Instead of leaving Isaiah in his state of sinfulness and uncleanliness, God provided forgiveness to restore him. An angel came and put coal to Isaiah's mouth, declaring that his sin had been removed. Yes, seeing Jesus' holiness exposed Isaiah's sin, but Jesus' holiness also provided a means for restoration. After being declared forgiven, Isaiah continued to serve and follow God, knowing that he had been restored. If you finish the rest of Isaiah chapter 6, you will see that Isaiah lived as if he had been forgiven. He continued to be God's messenger to the people of Israel.
Much like Isaiah, looking to Jesus' holiness certainly makes us aware of our own sinfulness. We have hope, however, because Jesus also provides a means for restoration. You see, throughout the book of Isaiah, the prophet prophesies about the coming of Jesus, the Son of God. Isaiah prophesies Jesus would come to earth, live a perfect life, and die on the cross for our sins so that we could be restored and made right with Him. Because of Jesus, we are offered forgiveness and restoration. When we place our faith in Him, we can also live in His forgiveness and restoration.
Perhaps you realize that you desperately need forgiveness. Jesus provides that for you if you admit your sin and believe that He will extend forgiveness. Take time today in your journal to confess your sin to Him. Perhaps you have been forgiven by Him, but you are not living like you have been forgiven. You are still living as if your relationship has not been fully restored. If that is you, with a dry erase marker (or a notecard and a regular marker), go to your bathroom mirror (or your notecard) and write the words "I am forgiven." If you decide to use a notecard, tape your notecard to your mirror. Let these words on your mirror serve as a reminder to you that have indeed been forgiven. As you go about your day, remember to live as if you have been forgiven and restored, so you are in a right relationship with God.
Read Isaiah 56:1-12 (NLT)
This is what the Lord says:
“Be just and fair to all. Do what is right and good,for I am coming soon to rescue you and to display my righteousness among you.Blessed are all those who are careful to do this.Blessed are those who honor my Sabbath days of rest and keep themselves from doing wrong.
“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will never let me be part of his people.’And don’t let the eunuchs say, ‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’For this is what the Lord says:I will bless those eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holyand who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me.I will give them—within the walls of my house— a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give.For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!
“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name,who worship him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest, and who hold fast to my covenant.I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer.I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.For the Sovereign Lord, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says:I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel.”
Come, wild animals of the field! Come, wild animals of the forest! Come and devour my people!For the leaders of my people— the Lord’s watchmen, his shepherds— are blind and ignorant.They are like silent watchdogs that give no warning when danger comes.They love to lie around, sleeping and dreaming. Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied.They are ignorant shepherds, all following their own path and intent on personal gain.“Come,” they say, “let’s get some wine and have a party. Let’s all get drunk.Then tomorrow we’ll do it again and have an even bigger party!”
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