Advent Devotional

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD.  “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a scarlet "A" to identify herself as an adulteress.  Bearing the constant reminder of her transgression emblazoned on her chest, a gray shadow falls across her and her entire countenance changes.  Her beauty and warmth fades.  After seven years, she tries to remove the scarlet letter from her own dress but is unable to.

In Isaiah 1:18, sin is represented by the bright red color of scarlet.  It pictures the deep penetrating stain of sin permeating the fabric of our fallen nature.  Every fiber is drenched with corruption.  Like Hester, we live under the gray shadow of guilt and no matter how hard we try, we can’t remove our scarlet letter.  It’s in that helpless condition that God beckons to us.  My guilt would urge me to run, but the Lord calls me to come and “come now.”  Why would I delay?  Sin only prolongs my guilt and misery, but the Lord is able to wash it all away.  

For Reflection & Discussion: Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal anything that is keeping you from being close to him.  What do you need to ask forgiveness for?

Prayer: God, thank you for inviting me and enabling me to come to you.  You promised that if I confess my sin, you not only forgive me but you cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Thank you for the blood of Christ which washes away the scarlet stain and crimson guilt of my sin.  Make me white as snow.
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