The Everlasting Gospel

SBS   Gospel Page

Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet

1. A Sinful World

Millions of people in every country live out their lives in silent despair, as troubles mount on every side. Broken homes, loneliness, unemployment, debt, illness, crime, vice, violence and many other ills have overwhelmed human society. Some try to drown their sorrows in drink, others take to drugs; only to find that they are compounding their problems. All the while, personal guilt is escalating throughout society. Families are growing apart. Church congregations are breaking up. The community spirit, so strong in days gone by, is fading. Greed, selfishness, sex and violence are the order of the day. Many souls bravely ride out the storm, hoping against hope that things will get better. But the situation grows worse. Some, seeing no way out of their personal problems, commit suicide. To be sure, this is all common knowledge. I mention it simply by way of introduction to show that something is radically wrong with our world. Many hundreds of years ago the Apostle Paul wrote these words about our day.
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3: Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4: Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) also warned about these things. He added a list of international problems: wars, famines, disease epidemics, natural disasters and persecution. He said that the churches would loose many members: that love for God would wax cold and faith would be a rare commodity. These signs, he predicted, would all precede his return to earth.
Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Mark 13:8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

"But Why," you may well ask, "is the world in such a mess?" The basic reason is because men and women have turned away from God. They have rejected the Almighty's offer of salvation through His Son. They have rejected His Word the Holy Bible and they have rejected His commandments. The time has come for Him to act. Mankind's allocated period of six thousand years is almost finished. God is about to step in, shake up mankind and take over the governments of the world. But before He does that He is currently making His final appeals to the human race. The Bible says:
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In other words, though the Almighty is soon to act and punish sin, He does not want anyone to perish; to be annihilated - if there is the slightest chance they may accept His offer of mercy. That is what this sermon is about. It is an urgent invitation to consider the divine options open to you before it is eternally too late. For make not mistake, the Almighty God is about to punish the world for its transgressions.

2. Divine Options

The punishment for sin is eternal death. But before condemning a sinner to death the Almighty offers terms of mercy. Only when His mercy is repeatedly rejected does punishment follow. These divine terms are documented in the scriptures.

Option 1 ... Unbelief and Death

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die ...
verse 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Option 2 ... Forgiveness / Cleansing

Ezekiel 18:21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22: All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23: Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17: Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

3. Examples of Forgiveness

I will now list instances of some notable sinners of Bible times who found forgiveness from God. Their sins include prostitution, idolatry, adultery, deceit, murder and sedition. When they repented, they were all forgiven.

Rahab (Prostitution)

Rahab was a harlot who lived in the world's oldest city - Jericho. She became a believer in the God of Israel. She and her family were spared when the city was conquered and all its inhabitants slaughtered.
Joshua 2:18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee.
Joshua 6:25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which sJoshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Though your sins (Rahab) be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

King Manasseh (Idolatry)

Manasseh was one of the worst kings who ever ruled in Judah. His sins were vile and numerous. God severely punished Manasseh. But he repented and the Most high forgave him and put him back on the throne. The story of Manasseh is breath-taking. It shows that God is infinitely merciful to even the vilest sinner.
2 Chronicles 33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:
2: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
3: For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

verse 12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13: And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.

Though your sins (Manasseh) be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

King David (Adultery/Murder)

King David, for all his knowledge and love for God's law, fell victim to the charms of a beautiful woman. When he saw Bath-sheba bathing his spiritual defences collapsed and he committed adultery with her. So captivated was the king that he had her husband murdered in battle. David then took Bath-sheba as his wife. Yahweh was terribly angry and pronounced judgement against David.
2 Samuel 12:11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12: For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13: And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

Though your sins (David) be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Mary, the sister of Lazarus

Mary was a notable sinner who lived in ancient village of Bethany. What her sin was we are not told: but it may well have been prostitution. When she met Jesus she was converted. Never in all her days had she met such a man. Jesus became her Saviour and her friend.
Luke 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38: And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39: Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40: And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41: There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42: And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43: Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44: And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45: Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46: My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47: Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
(Read about Mary in Mark 14:3-9, John 11:1-2, John 12:1-3)

Though your sins (Mary) be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Apostle Paul (Persecutor/Sedition)

Before his conversion the Apostle Paul (previously called Saul) persecuted the Christian church. He was present - and agreed with - the death sentence when it was carried out on the first Christian martyr Stephen. But the Saviour recognised that Saul's zeal was misguided and he decided to personally confront him. Saul was converted and renamed 'Paul.' He later became one of the Gospel's greatest champions and the writer of many letters in the New Testament.
Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2: And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3: As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2: And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Paul's Confession

1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Galatians 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6: And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Though your sins (Paul) be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

The Thief on the Cross

We do not know the name of this thief. But he is the perfect example of one who could find salvation on the very last day of his life. He began the day by cursing Christ. He ended it a converted man. This man will be in paradise because of his faith in Jesus.
Luke 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39: And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40: But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41: And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42: And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43: And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Though your sins be as scarlet,(O Thief) they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

4. What must I do to be saved?

To be pardoned from sin and its consequences - eternal death - a sinner must believe, commit one's life to, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Faith must then be expressed in obedience to Yahweh's commandments. In short, to be saved you must trust and obey the Almighty God. There is no other option. Listen to the advice of Paul and Jesus concerning the route to salvation and eternal life.
Paul's Advice
Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Jesus' Advice
Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17: And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18: He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19: Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

5. What About You?

How will you react to Yahweh's invitation to give up your sins and be saved? He is ready to pardon you, no matter how many times you have broken His law. So long as you confess your sins to God and then forsake them, you will certainly receive a free pardon. You can see from the Bible examples quoted that no case is hopeless. No one is beyond salvation. It is possible for even the vilest sinner on earth to be saved. Listen again to Yahweh's pleading voice:
Isaiah 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17: Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18: Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

What Does This Mean To You?

It means this: No matter what sin you may have committed: prostitution, idolatry, adultery, murder, theft, blasphemy or sedition: you can be forgiven - if you want forgiveness. The divine offer is open to you - now! 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'

The New Testament invitation to salvation is worded like this:
Revelation 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb ...
verse 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Who Can Accomplish This Miracle?

Yeshua the Messiah can. In the privacy of your own room, kneel down and confess your sins to God and accept His offer of mercy before it is too late. I repeat: no matter how many sins you may have committed, God is willing and able to forgive you. If you accept salvation you will be able to say with the Psalmist:
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
The alternative to salvation is damnation: and that, dear reader, is too dreadful to even contemplate.

6. The Believer's Future

No matter how desperate your present situation may be: if you believe in Yeshua the Saviour, your future is bright beyond anything you can imagine. Yahweh your Heavenly Father has in store for you an inheritance far better than the wealthiest billionaire can purchase. In the paradise of the new heavens and the new earth that He has promised to create, there will be no sickness, no sorrow, no pain and no death. The redeemed host will live there for all eternity in absolute peace, happiness and good health. This is the Word of God!
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3: And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4: And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5: And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6: And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The Apostle Paul sums it up in these words:
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

7. Summary

There you have it: your future prospects guaranteed on the Word of the Almighty God. What stronger reassurances do you need? None whatsoever. So let me close by summarising this lesson: May the Almighty help you make the right decision.

SBS   Gospel Page

Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
January 1996 ... Reformatted November 1999