Isaiah 55:6-9 – Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
How gracious is God? His call to repentance doesn’t extend only backsliding Christians. His call to return to him isn’t restricted to upright citizens. His invitation to call on him is not reserved for sensible, suburban folk with 2.1 children and a white picket fence. The LORD calls the רָשָעֵֹ֙ , the ungodly and wicked men who worship lust and self. The LORD calls the אִַ֥יש אֵָָ֖וֶן , the hardened sinner whose conscience has long stopped balking at his deeds. Look at what he promises to these people when they repent: mercy and pardon—the care of God and the forgiveness of God. They won’t get what they deserve—that is mercy. They get what they don’t deserve—that is the free pardon of grace. God’s plan to save sinners by grace soars above all that we could conceive or imagine.
Psalm 51 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to our unfailing love; according to our great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleans me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge, Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from you presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then buulls will be offered on our alter.
1 John 1:5-9 – This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Prayer for faith (our hymnal)
O Holy Spirit, come to me with your comforting Word, which alone can drive away my doubts. Direct me to my Savior, Jesus, that I may trust in him with my whole heart.