Beautiful Things

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I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25)

God will make for himself a people, and they will be beautiful.

They are a people scattered all over the world—people from the east and west, sons and daughters from the ends of the earth (Isaiah 43:5–6). God created this people for his glory and he will save them for his glory.

The Rescue to Come

This is how Isaiah 43 begins. There is God, his people, and a great rescue. The rescue in this section of Isaiah sounds a lot like the exodus from Egypt. The imagery from that dramatic event is interspersed throughout. “When you pass through waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2). “Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters” (Isaiah 43:16). God split the sea to bring his people out of slavery in Egypt and he is going to do it again.

But this time the people find themselves captive in another foreign land, Babylon.

Israel’s exile in Babylon is the result of God’s judgment on their sin. They have been faithless. They have disregarded his covenant. They have forsaken his law. The big question is: what’s next? I mean, they’ve already been rescued before. God has sent judges, established a kingdom, spoken through prophets, not to mention countless other mercies. And how did they respond? “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob” (Isaiah 43:22). They haven’t changed. In response to all of God’s mercy, they are still obstinate, still hard-hearted, still rebellious.

Our Problem

This is our problem, too. It’s a problem that demands more than a geographic swap. Their problem—our problem—is deeper than mere time and place. And if the rescue we need is going to last, it must be a rescue from ourselves.

And so the Lord says, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

This is the new and better rescue for which we are so desperate (Isaiah 43:19). This is when the lost are found, when the garden springs up from our cold, dusty ground. God will remove our sins. He won’t remember them any more. They will really be gone. Really. This is an absolute statement on what he will do. Sins are no more. But how?

What Jesus Did

As good as it is to hear what God will do, he doesn’t leave us to cling to only the idea of it. Removed sin is glorious, but it might sound a little abstract. We have to keep reading in Isaiah to see more of the picture (Isaiah 53:5). If we keep pressing on in Scripture, we see the whole thing: the way God removes our sins is by a Savior who dies in our place. Our sins are removed because Jesus took them from us.

Every sin. Every twisted motive in our hearts, every breath of rebellion, every thought of pride, every wrong we’ve ever done to someone else, every time we were too selfish to serve, too dull to love, too hardened to worship. Every sin we know and the innumerable sins we’re too blind to see—Jesus took them all.

He took them all to make beautiful things out of this old dust.

If we are united to Jesus by faith it means he took all of our sins and suffered the punishment we deserved. He completely removed our sins from us. We are forgiven. Forgiven and made new.

God will make for himself a people, and they will be beautiful.