6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
We went to watch a sheep shearing last spring. It was interesting to watch the sheep that were being rounded up. If one of them managed to break away and run in a different direction, a few more would follow. They didn’t know where they were going. They just followed someone else’s lead, blindly, and with no purpose but to do what they wanted.
That’s what the first sentence in this verse pictures. We’re given the guidelines for life in God’s Word, but we want to go our own way. We stray from the path the Shepherd has given us. We get out from under His leadership, guidance, and protection. We go astray.
Every single one of us has turned to a way we think is better. Our own way. I have clients whose children or spouses tell them, “I don’t care what God wants or says. I want to do what I want to do. Besides, He has to forgive me so it really doesn’t matter.”
He has to forgive me? That’s completely conditional. I John 1:9. “IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
God is not required to forgive me. Has has promised to do so IF and WHEN I confess, repent, and turn away from my sin and back to Him. It is foolish to assume that God HAS to forgive me when I rebel and go my own way.
The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. And that’s because all of us, every single one of us, has sinned against Him. The word iniquity is one we don’t hear much these days. I think that’s partly because in our present spiritual state in America, there really is no iniquity, is there? Everything is acceptable, everything is to be tolerated. Nothing is wrong except calling sin what it is.
I read a post this morning about a young man who brutally assaulted (raped) a girl. The judge, because it’s “only his first rape” is inclined to let him off the hook if the boy pleads “no contest,” and give him an unadjudicated probation and a fine for one count of unlawful restraint.
That, my friends, is iniquity! The young man’s behavior was iniquitous, the judge’s leniency is iniquitous. They don’t seem in the least concerned for the girl who was chosen to be his first rape victim, which in my mind means it is clearly expected that there will be more.
Jesus Christ died for that young man’s iniquity. That doesn’t mean, though, that he is automatically forgiven. Forgiven and salvation are available to him, but they come only with confession and repentance.