Great Gospel Texts: Isaiah 1:18

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

On March 26, 1979, a historically unprecedented event occurred. It occurred in the home of James Earl Carter, but he preferred Jimmy. Most people respected that preference, as he was the President of the United States of America. On this day, in the White House, he witnessed something which most of the world thought, and rightly so, could never be accomplished – peace in the Middle East.

The Camp David Accord resulted in a treaty between Israel and one of her biggest enemies, the Arab Republic of Egypt. Anwar al-Sadat and Menachem Begin, with President Jimmy Carter between them, signed this historic peace accord. The impossible, it seemed, had happened. Thirty years of war had come to an end, or had they?

On the fourth day of November, less than 8 months later, Iranian militants attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than ninety hostages. Many were soon released, but fifty-four remained in captivity, until the end of the Carter presidency. Peace was short-lived. President Jimmy Carter’s treaty miscarried before it could even deliver nine months’ worth of peace.

Over twenty years later, the tragedy in New York City buried all hopes of peace in the Middle East under thousands of tons of broken concrete and twisted steel. The destruction of the World Trade Center towers shattered lives, disrupted the world’s economy, and plunged the world again into war. Many wondered how this could happen.

There are at least three reasons why peace is nonexistent in the Middle East. First, the division, rooted in ethnic and religious hatred, has been too great to ever span. Second, the divided parties have never and will never desire reconciliation. Biblical prophecy predicts Jerusalem in constant cycles of conflict until the return of Christ. Third, there has never been a mediator powerful enough to bridge this great divide or pervasive enough to forever change the hearts and minds of the antagonists.

But there is an even greater peace issue, which is far more prominent and persistent. This great divide is global in its scope. It began when the first man and woman walked away from a paradise lost. The creature is at enmity with the Creator, sinners shake their fists at the Sovereign, mankind pits itself against the mighty Maker of heaven and earth.

The Bible, God’s message to mankind, clearly describes the cause of this great divide. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Our title verse describes our sins as a scarlet and crimson barrier in the sight of God. Like the plague of ancient times, it is a global problem. “There is none that doeth good, no not one” (Romans 3:12).

Unlike the Middle East though, this peace problem is completely lopsided. In the heart of the Creator there is only love for His creatures. “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16). He longs for us to change our minds about Him and repent of our sins. God has already, in an act of limitless grace and tender mercy, provided the bridge of reconciliation through the cross of His Son. Our peace problem has a Mediator great enough to bring lasting peace. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Mediator. Only He is powerful enough to bridge the gap of our sin, no matter how great. His love is pervasive enough to forever change our hearts from enemy to ally, regardless of the amount of hateful sin found there. Will you receive Him? “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

With a note of urgency, our text also reminds us that this invitation is a limited-time offer. “Come NOW, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” In eternity, separated from God, there will never be peace.