Transforming Grace

Read: Isaiah 1:1-20

The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, But Israel does not know, my people do not understand. (v. 3)

In this reading we are introduced to Isaiah’s beautiful poetry and striking metaphors. Though the historical setting for this passage is not stated, Isaiah places the root cause for the moral and spiritual decline upon Judah’s people. The religious practices of sacrifice, festivals and prayer have not led to inward transformation nor to justice and compassion for the fatherless, widow and the oppressed.

A consistent message throughout the Bible is that a saving, covenantal relationship with God leads to an inner transformation marked by integrity, love, compassion, and justice. This is particularly true for believers who know God’s love through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

Today’s reading concludes with these gracious words, a beautiful promise after so much condemnation:

            Though your sins are like scarlet,

                    they shall be as white as snow;

            Though they are red as crimson,

                    they shall be like wool. (v. 18)

—Gordon Van Wylen

As you pray, confess your sins and receive God’s gracious and loving forgiveness.

About the Author

Gordon Van Wylen

Gordon Van Wylen served as the Dean of the Engineering School at the University of Michigan, and was the President Emeritus of Hope College. Dr. Van Wylen died in 2020.