Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Rayola Kelley 

There is a certain scripture that is greatly misused today in the name of Christian unity. Sadly, the practice of mishandling scriptures is not unusual. This is why we have various cults and heresies among us.

As you listen to the people who use this particular scripture out of context, you can surmise their personal agenda along with the reasoning behind it. The personal agenda is to have control and to promote an unholy agreement or alliance.

This portion of scripture is often partially quoted, so allow me to quote the complete scripture. It is found in Isaiah 1:18: “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.”

Usually only the first part of this scripture is quoted: “Come now, and let us reason together.” Those who love to quote this part of scripture use it to imply that it is man that must come together and reason. This concept is to promote unity among those who do not necessarily agree with one another.

The idea of unity may be popular but it is not scriptural or realistic in every case. Man can’t reason together for a couple of reasons. First, who is to determine who is right about matters? I know of an individual who uses this scripture, not to reason with anyone, but to gain the upper hand over his opponents. He claims he wants unity where in reality he wants to bring those who disagree with him under his authority. As you contend with this individual, you realize he has no intention of reasoning with you but to force you to see and agree with his perverted conclusions. In a way, he misuses this scripture to entangle you in his web made up of his own delusion and destruction.

The second reason man can’t reason together is because real unity or agreement does not hinge on man’s logic or reasoning, but on Spirit and Truth. A person is either in agreement with someone up front or they aren’t and all of man’s reasoning will not change the obvious. Amos 3:3 confirms this fact: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

For example, I know for a fact that I could not agree with the individual I mentioned because he believes in a different Jesus, preaches another gospel and is motivated by a different spirit than myself. For me to try to reason with such a person is to not only foolishly walk into a lion’s den but it would be disobedient to the instructions found in 2 Corinthians 6:15 and 17: “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?…Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

Now with this in mind what is Isaiah 1:18 really talking about? First of all, God is not calling man to reason with man but to come and reason with Him.

According to STRONG’S CONCORDANCE, “reason” in this scripture means to argue, chasten, convince, correct, judge, rebuke or reprove. The reason God is calling man to Himself in this manner is to contend for his soul in order to take away self-justification, rebuke sin, reprove wrong attitudes and judge unacceptable actions. His goal is to convince man of his real spiritual standing in order to chasten and correct him according to forgiveness, salvation and godly righteousness.

The reason for God contending with man in this manner is obvious—it is so man can humble himself before His Creator and God and be cleansed from all of his sins.

As you can see, this scripture is not to show man’s need to reason with one another but God’s commitment to meet man in his sin in order to bring about atonement and forgiveness. Therefore, to imply this scripture is about man reasoning with man instead of man coming to God for understanding and cleansing is to actually exalt man’s importance and downplay God’s salvation. This is not only unacceptable but it is an inexcusable farce on man’s part.

This scripture brings us to God’s real heart, which is for man to have a relationship with Him. His whole goal is to call man into communion with Himself.

Communion is a great privilege that was wrought by Jesus’ death on the cross. He made it quite clear that His whole purpose for coming was to restore man back into a relationship with God. He stated as much when He declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”

Jesus’ death on the cross was not just about redemption but restoration. God so desires a relationship with us that He gave His only begotten Son. He has done everything so we can simply come and reason with Him. But so many people avoid coming to Him and their excuses vary depending on what they are afraid of.

It is true when we come to Him we will see our sins, but it will be in light of His mercy and grace. We will also see our rebellion, but it will be in light of His forgiveness. We will see our hopeless state, but it will be in light of His salvation. We will see our weakness and failure but it will be in light of His greatness.

Occasionally, I have encountered Christians who are lonely, miserable, discontented and confused. Observing them I realize that what is missing in their lives is intimacy with God. They have never really entered into the inner chambers with their Lord. As a result, their lives are empty tombs even though they have been whitewashed with religion and good works. They are miserable because they lack substance. They are confused because they have no real purpose or direction.

Last month we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. Sometimes in our celebration and religious activities we forget that we all started out as empty tombs until Jesus became a living reality to us. It is as Jesus is formed in us in resurrection power that we begin to understand the main reason man was formed in the Garden of Eden.

First, man was formed for the purpose of fellowshipping with God. This type of intimacy allows Jesus to become real in and through us. It is the manifestation of His life, which serves as satisfying meat and drink to the soul.

Secondly, man was also made to reflect God’s image. Once man comes to the place where he mirrors the image of the resurrected Christ, he will find satisfaction and meaning for his life. But this can only be accomplished in intimate fellowship.

Let me ask, when was the last time you came to the table and reasoned with God about your life? A good way to test yourself is to ask if you are lonely, discontented, miserable or confused. If so, I would say it has been awhile since you have reasoned with God. Do not delay, accept His invitation today to come and reason with Him about your life.

We want to thank all of our faithful friends and supporters for giving us the opportunity to serve Jesus Christ. The Lord has graciously used us to reach out to many. We trust that God will bless you for your faithfulness to be co-laborers with us in the vast American harvest field.