Isaiah 1:6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness – only wounds and bruises and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil.
During his lifetime, Isaiah, like all his ilk, was not a popular prophet among the ‘chosen’ people to whom he was called upon to deliver the LORD’s message of Judgement. As Jesus would later indicate to the religious leaders of HIS day, at the very time they were honouring Isaiah and condemning their forefathers who had treated him so badly, they were actively plotting the death of God’s One True Prophet, the Lord Jesus, Messiah, himself (Matthew 23:29-32)!
This is how sin works. We can see with 20-20 vision the sins of past generations while we remain blind to worse sins of our own. Jesus rightly labelled this ‘hypocrisy’ (Matthew 23:29).
What Isaiah was pointing out to his generation, in effect, was that there is NO PART of our human condition, the whole DNA package we inherited from Adam, that is unaffected by Sin. The Reformed Synod of Dort in the 2nd Decade of the 17th Century referred to this truth as ‘Total Depravity’ – the adverb ‘total’ referring not so much to the ‘depth’ of our depravity as to the ‘breadth’ of it.
This truth challenges the Church today in at least three areas: (1) if our WILLS are sin-affected they are not ‘free’ to ‘choose’ Christ, but he must choose us; (2) if our FEELINGS/EMOTIONS are sin-affected we must test every subjective ‘spiritual intuition’ we have by the Written, Infallible Word of God; and (3) if our INTELLECTS are sin-affected we cannot bring about the necessary radical change that is needed in us by rational, logical argument, either in ourselves or in anyone else.
Unsurprisingly, Isaiah’s harsh diagnosis is completely consistent with Jesus’ word to the ‘religious’ Pharisee, Nicodemus, that he ‘must be BORN AGAIN’ [by/of the Holy Spirit] (John 3:1-12), and with what Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus: “As for you, you were DEAD in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. ALL OF US also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in MERCY, MADE US ALIVE with Christ EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN TRANSGRESSIONS – it is by GRACE you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:1-5). Even the ‘faith’ I have placed in Jesus as my Saviour is a gracious, undeserved GIFT from God, and not something I have managed to come to myself and therefore can ‘boast’ in. This is the ultimate HUMBLING truth – and all I can give back to God is a humble THANKFUL heart.