But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.Isaiah 59:2(NASB)
There is no standing still in the Christian life. Either one is growing in grace and drawing closer to the Lord in humbleness of spirit and obedience to God's word OR one starts to regress into spiritual infancy through unbelief, disobedience, and fleshly carnality. We are either spiritual Christians, who are maturing in the faith OR we are carnal believers whose spiritual growth is being stunted. Israel gives us a stark reminder that disobedience has devastating consequences.
Our position in Christ is eternally secure, and the privileges we have received by faith will never be taken from us, and can never be lost, or negated. However, terrible consequences accompany the unfaithful servant who lives for himself and not for the Lord. Fellowship with the Father is broken; future rewards can be forfeited; spiritual growth is stunted and instead of having a victorious Christian walk, through His sufficient grace, we are defeated in the race of life.
As one reads through the weighty prophecies of Isaiah there is no denying that God's covenanted people were spiritually barren and deserved punishment. Moses had warned them centuries before that rebellion and apostasy would result in judgement falling on the Nation, while faithfulness would result in blessing.. and the first section of Isaiah's writings make it clear that the nation was ripe for judgement.
Isaiah was tasked with telling them that because of their apostasy, Israel would be punished. The old order would pass away and a new order was to be brought in. The covenant Israel broke would be replaced with a New and better Covenant. A NEW order was to replace the old.
The first 39 chapters of Isaiah prophesy of God's judgement on Gentile nations in general, and Judah and Jerusalem in particular. Although there are little glimpses of coming glory and future blessings strewn throughout this section, the certainty of chastening and punishment threads its way through the entire document.
From chapter 40, we have a section that speaks of coming comfort and the deliverance, restoration, peace, and pardon for God's people. It gives assurances that the Gentile nations, whom God would use as a chastening rod to punish His people and a battering ram to humble them, would themselves feel the full force of God's wrath on their heads, because of their evil ways.
And although Isaiah prophesied that a righteous Ruler would arise as the nation's sin-bearer and sacrifice... Who would be their Redeemer and Restorer, Israel had to understand that their punishment was due to their apostasy... and the reason for the coming blessings and future glory for a faithful remnant was because of God's mercy and grace. "But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear."
Israel had to understand that sin separates sinful man from a holy God. Sin is an abomination to the Lord, and every sin must be punished. God could not overlook the iniquity of His people, and Israel's wickedness had built an immovable barrier between the Nation and their God. So great was their sin that the Lord hid His face from His people, and did not hear.
Man tries to belittle sin, but sin is an abomination to the Lord. Sin was the cause of Christ's death on the cross as the sacrifice for sin. God will not tolerate sin and ALL sin must be punished. While individuals who believed God, in Isaiah's day, were credited with righteousness, and all Church age believers are saved by grace through faith in Christ's sacrificial work, the entire, apostate nation had to be judged for their collective sin.
Faith in Christ alone is the reason we are forgiven, because the wrath of God was poured out on Him - instead of on us. He was punished for OUR sin. But those who have rejected God's offer of salvation, Jew and Gentile alike, will have to face His wrath in the future. The wrath of God will be poured out during the great tribulation period and those who do not believe will be judged at the Great White Throne judgement of God. But the Lord remains faithful to the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David - and to US. NO CONDEMNATION to those in Christ.
Unsaved sinners are condemned, and our iniquity separates us from God until we are justified. As saved saints, there is no condemnation, BUT iniquity and sin causes a separation between God and a believer. While sin does not disconnect us from our justified status, it prevents us from enjoying close fellowship with the Lord. But when we confess our post-salvation sins, we are returned into fellowship with the Father.
Although there was still a tiny remnant of God-fearing men in Israel, it is sad to see the shocking collapse in the nation's moral standards. Sadly, the nation did not mourn over their sin and apostasy, so God hid His face from His chosen people, and would not hear. They did not cease to be His people, through Whom God would fulfil many of His promises, but they had to be punished for their sin and chastened for their trespasses.
May we learn the lesson that Israel failed to learn - that God is good and faithful to keep His promises to us and demands that we are holy for HE is holy. May we never forget the high price God paid for our free gift of salvation - the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. May we never wander from the truth that it was only through faith in Christ's finished work on the cross, is the wall of separation between us and God was removed.
May we also be mindful that it is only by ongoing faith in Him - living a life of faith and walking in spirit and truth, that we can enjoy ongoing fellowship with our heavenly Father - and Jesus Christ our God and Saviour.
Heavenly Father, what a comfort to know that the wall of separation between God and man was been broken down, through faith in Christ. I pray that I would walk in spirit and truth and confess any post-salvation sins quickly, so I may return into fellowship with You. Help me to more fully understand how abominable sin is.. and to eschew evil in and live holy in Your sight. Thank You that despite Israel's unfaithfulness, YOU remain faithful to them. Open their eyes to see the truth, soften their hearts... and bring many to faith in Christ. And thank You for being my good and gracious God - in Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.