Doctrine of Despair

The prophet Isaiah told his people of the coming of the Messiah and of His promise, I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions.

Some of our moralists, however, do not accept this promise. They agree with the Persian poet Omar Khayyam who wrote, "The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on nor all your piety and wit can lure it back to cancel half a line. Nor all your tears wash out a word of it." In other words, a man writes his own story and what he has written he cannot un-write.

There's a certain justice about this thinking, but it is, in effect, a doctrine of despair. Is there nothing else to be said? "Yes," writes columnist John R. Gunn, "God has something else to say...I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions."

The ancients used parchment and frequently scoured out or blotted out what was written and there was a clear, clean sheet with not a vestige of the old writing. What a contrast this is to the belief of the defeatist - that man writes his own destiny and that the past is irrevocable.

Christ can follow a prodigal into every downward movement, down to the swine trough, then take him by the hand and lead him back to the Father's house, put a robe on his back, a ring on his hand, shoes on his feet and start the angels in Heaven rejoicing, because that which was lost is found.

It is a great Gospel; a wonderful Gospel, that Christ can blot out sins of the past and give a man a clean page and a fresh start.