Isaiah 59:1-3 ESV
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood
and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies;
your tongue mutters wickedness.”
Now, as applied to today, this can be speaking of someone who believed in Jesus Christ but who since then has wandered from the faith and has turned his back on the Lord, and who has returned to his life of sin. Or it can be speaking of someone who has made a false profession of faith in Jesus Christ, for he never left his life of sin, but he has continued in deliberate and habitual sin while claiming Jesus as his Savior and Lord, and while claiming heaven as his eternal destiny.
Either way, this is speaking of someone who, with his lips, professes Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior but who, by his actions, denies the Lord and his gospel of salvation. So, instead of running to the Lord for his comfort and help, he runs to his idols and his addictions and his sinful passions and desires. And they have control over his life. So, he is not saying, “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and he is not living a self-controlled, upright, and godly life during his time on the earth (Titus 2:11-14).
So, whether or not he ever truly believed in Jesus Christ, he does profess Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and yet his sins have made a separation between him and God, and his sins have hidden God’s face from him so that God does not hear. And lest you think that this is Old Testament only, please read what the New Testament teaches about this. For it teaches that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in sin, we lie. And if we claim to know God, but we do not obey his commands (New Covenant), we lie.
And it teaches that if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness, holiness, and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, not only do we not know God, but we do not have eternal life with God, and we will not enter into his heavenly kingdom, and our sins are not forgiven. For instead of preferring the Lord and to do his will, we prefer our sin, and so we ignore him and his commandments – if sin is what we practice, and if we do not obey our Lord. And so sin separates us from God if sin is what we practice.
Now, this is certainly not saying that if we follow Jesus in obedience, and if sin is not what we practice, that we will never sin. We should not sin. Sin should no longer reign in our mortal bodies to where we obey its lusts, in practice, and sin should no longer be our master. But we still have the propensity to sin, and we will still be tempted to sin, and so it is possible that we might sin sometime, but we should no longer live as slaves to sin but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness.
So, those who are addicted to sin, and who run to sin for their comfort, and not the Lord, usually are those who hide their sins in secret and who lie to cover them up. For they don’t want their idol to go away, and they don’t want to have to give it (or him or her) up. And so they will go to great lengths to hide what they are doing so as not to expose their sins and so that they can continue in them without interference. And they will step on and take advantage of and hurt anyone who gets in the way.
Isaiah 59:7-8 ESV
“Their feet run to evil,
and they are swift to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they do not know,
and there is no justice in their paths;
they have made their roads crooked;
no one who treads on them knows peace.”
This is a description of someone who is addicted to sin, and/or who is addicted to any particular sin, to any sin which clings so closely. And if you are personally acquainted with anyone who is living in addiction, then you will realize how strong a hold his addiction of choice has on his life. And this is not saying that the person can’t help it, or that he has no choice in the matter, or that he is a result of his circumstances or whatever. For our Lord made it quite clear that we are all responsible for what we do with our Lord and with his gospel of salvation, and we are all going to be judged by him.
This addiction is like another lover. It is like someone who has “fallen in love,” and they feel in their emotions that they must have this other person or they will die. And they will schedule their lives around their addiction so that they do not miss being with their “other lover,” who could be a real person with whom they are having an extra-marital affair, or their “other lover” could be any sin which has a tight grip on their lives and which they feel they must do to be happy. For it is an obsession. And it can be make-believe, too, like a fantasy that they live instead of living in reality.
So, the call here is, if this describes you and your life, that you will turn away from your sins, forsake your idols, surrender your hearts to Jesus Christ to obey his commands, and then that you will follow the Lord in obedience and in moral purity, righteousness, holiness, honesty and faithfulness, in the power and wisdom of God, for the glory and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ. And then let the peace of God rule your heart and daily die to sin and to self and keep on following Jesus in obedience to the end.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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