Two of the most beautiful words in Scripture are some of the easiest to miss. “But God” is a phrase that shows up many times in the Bible and normally contains the most wonderful truths about the saving power of our God. Isaiah 64 is no exception. starting in verse 5, we are confronted with our utter sinfulness:
Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
God is angry for we have sinned. In fact, we can’t help but sin. Our very beings are stained with sin. Even our good deeds, our most righteous acts, are like a polluted garment, filthy rags. No one does good. No one calls on the name of the Lord. And not one of us is clean. But verse 8 brings with it good news for such bad people:
8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
How can we go from verse 7, “no one calls on the name of God” to “You are our Father” in verse 8? By looking to the cross. At the cross, God caused bad, terrible people to become children. We had nothing good to give, nothing worthy of love, but now, He is our Father. Our best works are good for nothing but the trash can, yet God sees fit to bring us into the building of His kingdom.
Our righteous deeds are made truly righteous because Jesus, the Righteous One, died a sinner’s death. He took our sin and gave us His righteousness, adopting us into the family of God. Now we are clay in the hands of the Potter, molded and shaped into the most beautiful masterpiece . All because of Jesus. All because of the good news, the Gospel, that makes bad people into children of the Living God.