Translations: Chinese GB Big5

I Will Heal Him

Isaiah 57:17-21
I was enraged by his sinful greed;
I punished him, and hid my face in anger,
yet he kept on in his willful ways.

I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the LORD. "And I will heal them."

But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
"There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."


Comment

Here we see God's grace in sanctifying sinners. But there is a paradox here. In the last paragraph he speaks of "the wicked" as if in contrast to those he heals. But how is the person in the first paragraph not wicked? Afterall, he is described as sinfully greedy and willfully sinful. Even after discipline rather than repent that person continued willfully in sin. Doesn't it say in Hebrews, "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." Heb 10:26,27 And indeed in the first paragraph God speaks of his emotional rage and anger towards this guy because of his unrepentent sinfulness. God does not like this guy as he is, but God's love moves him to change him.

One is reminded of the apostle Paul who was kicking against the goads. He rejected the gospel at first. He was involved in actively persecuting Christians. He writes, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life." 1Tim 1:12-16

I think the first and last paragraphs are not contradictory, nor even to be viewed as a contrast, but rather complementary. This person starts out wicked. He is like a tossing sea which cannot rest. He has no peace.  But realize that along with Paul many who have come to Christ were formerly living wicked lives and on their way to hell. Paul himself speaks of this fact to the Corinthians saying, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1Cor 6:9-11

Thus if, through faith, the wicked cooperate with God they will be healed from their wickedness and be saved from its consequences and enter into a peaceful relationship with God reflected in a clear conscience and a righteous lifestyle.


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