A Confession

Many times, when we got to Isaiah 59, it is noted that the sins of the Israelites had caused them to be separated from God, and He was no longer delivering them from their enemies or even hearing their prayers (Isa. 59:1, 2). That point should be noted, but we could learn more from this passage by simply continuing to read the rest of the chapter. In the words that follow the telling of their separation from God, we find their confession of the very sins that had caused the separation, and that confession is one worthy of our consideration, for it is a confession that every lost soul should make. Let’s take a few minutes and briefly note what was confessed, and make application.

      They Walked in Darkness. (Isa. 59:9, 10) Note how their lives were described at this point, when they were separated from God because of their sins: “there is darkness…we walk in blackness! We grope for the wall like the blind,…as if we had no eyes; we stumble at noonday as at twilight.” In their condition, they were unable to find their own way, though they might “look for light” or “brightness”; their ways and their sins had so blinded them, they could no longer see the way they should have been going [i.e., the way of life that was pleasing to God]. What a desperate condition they were in, separated from God! The only positive point we can note here is this: At least they recognized their blindness!

      So many today, who are just as lost, do not acknowledge their blindness to the truth or righteousness, but are so blinded by their sins and desire for the ways of the world that they actually think they are just fine. Ask just about anyone today about their soul or eternity or Judgment and they will likely tell you they are going to heaven, though they do not follow the ways of Jesus Christ. As Jesus noted many years after Isaiah wrote these words, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19, 20). Unless and until one confesses he is in darkness without Christ, the deception will continue and the lost will remain lost. It is not until one realizes he is lost that he can truly be saved.

      Mourning for Their Sin and for Their Condition.  (Isa. 59:11) Those who would at least acknowledge their sins were also the ones who would mourn because of their sins, and for the condition they found themselves in upon acknowledging this fact. They mourned because they recognized, “We look for…salvation, but it is far from us.” They realized they were not in a safe position — separated from God.

      C.S. Lewis once said, “A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world-and might be even more difficult to save.” He was right; when we do not realize [or at least acknowledge] our true condition when we are separated from God, we will not feel any need to change. Along that line, Dwight Moody once said, “Before a man can be saved, you have to first get him lost.” Do we see our true condition, or are we, too, blind and walking in darkness? Please understand that separation from God means we are lost, and it could be an eternal condition.

      They Recognized Personal Sin. (Isa. 59:12-15) When the Israelites finally acknowledged their true condition, it was if someone had flipped the switch and turned on the light; now, they saw their sins — and they were many! As stated to God in this passage, they acknowledged, “our transgressions are multiplied before You.” They made no excuses, and they did not overlook their sins anymore. They had transgressed God’s laws, lied to Him, left Him, and rejected righteousness and truth itself. In doing so, they rejected God Himself.

      The habit of mankind, though, is quite different than what we read here, for the most part. Man often has no trouble identifying the faults and sins of others, but finds it much more difficult and unwelcome to admit personal sin.

      It was for that very reason that Jesus said those words we probably all know well: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3). The sad fact is, we don’t like admitting when we fail; we don’t like admitting that what we are doing is something God calls sin. We want to believe — and we tell ourselves and anyone who will listen — that we are “good people.” We are not. The wise writer noted long ago, “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Eccl. 7:20). A confession of our sins is necessary before we can be saved, and it is necessary after we become Christians, too (1 John 1:9) -— if we want to be forgiven and if we desire eternal life in heaven.

      God’s View. (Isa. 59:15b-18) It should go without saying, but when “the Lord saw it,…it displeased Him.” He had to have been severely disappointed that there “was no justice.…no man,…no intercessor.” Out of all the people in Israel, there was no one who would stand up for justice, no one who would stand up for the oppressed, and no man who would stand to deliver the people from their seemingly inevitable destruction.

      Unfortunately, this period in the history of Israel is just a microcosm of the history of mankind, as a whole. It was Paul who quoted David’s words when he wrote to the brethren at Rome, reminding them of God’s view of the whole of mankind: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12). This truth is summed up just a few verses later when Paul writes, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). According to the view of God, we are not “good” —none of us — because we have all sinned.

      The Coming Redeemer. (Isa. 59:20) In the context of Israel’s confession of their sins and God’s displeasure with their unfaithfulness and lack of anyone who would stand for truth and righteousness, He reveals one who would come to save them, a man who would be simply called “The Redeemer.” He is one with whom we should be familiar, because He is none other than Jesus the Christ. We should know Him because He is also our Redeemer.

      You see, when God looked down at Israel, and when he looked down at the whole of mankind, and saw there were none righteous and that all had sinned, He also saw that we could not deliver ourselves from our sad and dangerous condition, so He sent one who could deliver, one who could save us, and one who could make it possible to change our standing before Him.

            Many years later, the apostle Paul would write of the one who had, by that time, already come and had already delivered and redeemed: Jesus. To the Christians in Ephesus, he wrote, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). While the Redeemer has already come, it is now up to us to confess our sins and repent of them if we are to be truly delivered and saved from sin. Are you willing?     — Steven Harper