“I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation which did not call on My name. I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts.” (Isaiah 65:1-2)In the New Testament, we are described as being the “Bride of Christ.” As brides go, however, we are not much of a catch. When I look at the church and the people Jesus died to save, I sometimes think that Jesus could have done better. When Jesus set His heart to woe and wed us, we were not much to behold. We were not a righteous people, we were living lives of sin, and we gave no thought to seeking the Lord. While we were yet unlovely, God loved us. While we were yet undesirable, God sought us out. The Apostle John reminds us, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:10, 19) The Apostle Paul concurs with John, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) How incredible is God’s love towards us! His love for us is not based upon who we are but on who He is. “God is love” (1 John 4:16)
“A people who continually provoke Me to My face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks; who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine's flesh, and the broth of unclean meat is in their pots. Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.” (Isaiah 65:3-5)In spite of God’s unfailing love, the people of Israel rebelled against their lover and followed a way of their own choosing. Instead of living according to the ordnances of God, they followed after their own lusts and desires. They comforted themselves that they were, after all, children of Israel and assumed that God would accept them on that basis, yet they lived like the gentiles around them. They possessed a form of self-righteousness. As Jews, they believed that they were better and more righteous than other people, yet they forgot that just having the law did not make them better than anyone else unless they actually lived according to that law. As Christians, it is easy to fall into the same deception of self-righteousness. We call ourselves “Christians” and consider ourselves to be holier than unbelievers, but far too often we live like the same unbelievers we are quick to judge. What we call ourselves makes no difference. It is how we live our lives that we will be judged.
“‘Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom, both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together,’ says the Lord. “Because they have burned incense on the mountains and scorned Me on the hills, therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.’” (Isaiah 65:6-7)Someone once said, “The wheels of God’s justice may turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.” God is long suffering, but He will not let sin go unpunished. We may think God does not see and we may assume God doesn’t really care, but God does see and He does care. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) We reap what we sow and, if we have learned and continued in the sins of our fathers, we may even reap what they sowed as well. It is not hard to see that many sins get passed down from generation to generation. For example, drunkenness, addictions, and sexual impurity are often passed down from one generation to another. With each successive generation the effect and the magnitude of these sins multiplies. Now is the time to deal with our sins and break the cycle of sin. We may have sinned but by the grace of God, these sins can end with us. We do not have to pass them on to our children; we can deal with them now. “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:31)