I am he who blots out your transgressions. (v. 25)
“God will forgive me,” said the cynic Voltaire, “c’est son metier, that’s what he’s
for!” Isaiah would agree, but without the sarcasm. It is so easy to identify God with
religion, to assume that our Sunday exercises and good works please him.
But the choirs of Amos’s day (5:23) were only noise; the worshipers in Isaiah 1:12 were
just feet clattering on pavement. The question “What have I done for God?” is always
wrong. Here are the right questions to ask about worship:
Have we started at the beginning, with God’s blotting out (wiping clean) of our
transgressions (v. 25)? As the old song said, “There’s a way back to God from the dark
paths of sin / at Calvary’s Cross is where we begin.” Our worship is acceptable when we
come as sinners to Jesus.
Do we know God’s life-giving gift of his Spirit in all its life-giving abundance (v.
3)? Only then is it safe to engage in worship—expressions of loyalty and acts of
commitment (v. 5). The basic question used to be, “Have you received the Lord Jesus as
your own personal Savior?” So much more biblical than “Have you made a commitment to
“Cleanse me from my sin, Lord; Put thy power within, Lord; Take me as I am, Lord, and make me all thine own!”