There’s a dire message in Isaiah 59:
Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2.)
The message? If you are distant from God it’s not his fault. Your iniquities, your sins – your unrighteousness – are the problem. This was the message Isaiah brought to God’s people under the Old Covenant. This was trouble, because these people had been told:
Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
no one who does what is right and never sins.
What could they do about it? Absolutely nothing. But God could do some thing about it.
He saw that there was no one,
he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
and his own righteousness sustained him. (Isaiah 59:16.)
The salvation God achieved led to a New Covenant, one based on his promise to his people and not on their promises (repeatedly broken promises, at that) to him. He promised their relationship would now be based on what he did to and for them on the inside, not on their outward obedience.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34.)
This is grace and mercy in action. God forgives, and holds nothing against you.
That’s because your sins, every single one from past to present to future, have been taken care of for you by Jesus himself. There is nothing you’ve done that Jesus didn’t cover for you.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6.)
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6.)
God loves you so much that Jesus took care of everything that separated you from God. Now there is nothing you or anyone else can do that will ever separate you from him again.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39.)
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16.)
When the Bible invites you to “come boldly unto the throne of grace,” it doesn’t add “once you’ve cleaned yourself up.” It just tells you to approach God boldly.
So go ahead. Give it a try.