I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return to me; for I have redeemed you.
I. THE DIVINENESS OF FORGIVENESS. "I have blotted out," &c. "I, even I." All sin is against God. When you sin against each other you sin against God. And all punishment is in God's hands; and the dispensation of pardon is His prerogative. Blessed be God for keeping it within His own power! Pardon is dispensed faithfully and wisely, for God is light. Pardon is dispensed graciously, for God is love. And pardon is given according to the Divine promise and covenant, for "God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."
II. THE COMPLETENESS OF PARDON. In the country which Isaiah knew, the clouds were entirely blotted out during four months of the year; so that it was an extraordinary thing from May to September, to see a cloud: and the clearness of the atmosphere enabled the prophet to appreciate this illustration to an extent impossible to us, who are so often under a leaden sky. Still, even here, we do know what it is to stand under a blue sky. In the morning, or in the evening, or late at night, we know what it is to stand under the cloudless heavens, and to say, "There is not a cloud to be seen." And when God pardons a man there is not a sin to be seen. The sins of childhood, and youth, and maturity-the sins of every year, and day, and hour — are blotted out. The sins of the body, and the sins of the soul — the sins of the tongue, and of the hand, and of every member of the body — the sins of the thought, and of the imagination, and of desire, and of affection, and of volition, are all blotted out. The sins of the heart, and the sins of the home, the sins of the place of business, and the sins of the Church, and the sins committed against brothers and sisters, and kindred of every degree — against husband, and wife, and children, and neighbours, and friends, and the country, — sins against the Saviour, and against the Holy Spirit, and against our Father in Heaven are blotted out. Sins wilful, sins careless, sins repeated, sins aggravated, are all blotted out. Not some sins, but all sins. The least are not overlooked; the worst are not reserved. Pardon is not the mitigation of punishment — it is not the passing by of some transgressions and the bringing forward of others — but an entire remission of future punishment. Sin is not behind following us; sin is not before preventing us; sin is not above falling upon us; sin is not on either hand hemming us in. Pardoned by God, our sins are gone; actually gone for ever.
III. THE ASSURANCE WHICH GOD GIVES THE PARDONED THAT THEY ARE FORGIVEN. God might forgive without telling us now that He has pardoned us. He might reserve the communication of this fact until the last great day. But He would have the forgiven know that they are pardoned. Now what profit is there in this? Knowledge of pardon is a particular knowledge of God. A man who is pardoned sees God in the dispensation of Divine forgiveness, as God is not to be seen elsewhere, or in any other dispensation. It is one thing to see God in the general provision He has made for the supply of our wants, and quite another thing for us to see God applying that provision to ourselves. A knowledge of pardon is a source of joy and peace. It is, moreover, a power awakening love. You remember the case of the woman who came to Christ, upon the occasion of the great banquet given to Him by one of the chief of the Pharisees. Then, the knowledge of pardon is a motive to the pursuit of holiness.
IV. THE KNOWLEDGE OF PARDON ENCOURAGES US TO BRING OTHERS TO GOD.
V. WHO ARE THE ASSURED?
1. Those who confess to Him their sins.
2. The confession is to be accompanied by the forsaking of sin.
3. There is no forsaking sin, without turning to God.
Parallel VersesKJV: I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.