I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I, even I . . .—As in Isaiah 1:2; Isaiah 1:18, the analogy with which may be noted as evidence of identity of authorship, the incisive words that prove the guilt of Israel are followed by the fullest offer of pardon on repentance. And this he does “for His own sake,” to manifest the everlasting righteousness which is also the everlasting love. The “blotting out” finds an echo in Colossians 2:14.Isaiah 43:25. I, even I — Whom thou hast thus despised, and wearied, and provoked to destroy thee; am he that blotteth out thy transgressions — Out of my book, in which they were all written, to be read unto thee, and charged upon thee at a future day. Sins are often compared to debts, (Matthew 6:12, &c.,) written in the creditor’s book, and crossed or blotted out when they are paid. For mine own sake — Being moved thereunto, not by thy merits, but by my own mere goodness and free mercy. And will not remember thy sins — So as to punish them, and destroy thee for them, as thou deservest.Isaiah 43:11. Perhaps also God designs to show them the evil of the sins which are mentioned in the previous verses, by the assurance that they were committed against him who alone could forgive, and who had promised them pardon. The passage also reminds them, that it was God alone who could pardon the sins of which, as a nation, they had been guilty.
That blotteth out thy transgressions - This metaphor is taken from the custom of keeping accounts, where, when a debt is paid, the charge is blotted or cancelled. Thus God says he blotted out the sins of the Jews. He cancelled them. He forgave them. Of course, when forgiven, punishment could not be exacted, and he would treat them as pardoned; that is, as his friends.
For mine own sake - Not because you deserve it, or have any claim, or that it would not be right to punish you. Not even primarily to promote your happiness and salvation, but for my sake;
1. To show the benevolence of my character;
2. To promote my glory by your forgiveness and salvation (see Ezekiel 36:22).
And will not remember thy sins - They shall be forgiven. Hezekiah Isaiah 38:17 expresses the same idea by saying 'thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.' We may learn from this verse:
1. That it is God only who can pardon sin. How vain, then, is it for man to attempt it! How wicked for man to claim the prerogative! And yet it is an essential part of the papal system that the Pope and his priests have the power of remitting the penalty of transgression.
2. That this is done by God solely for his own sake. It is not
(a) because we have any claim to it, for then it would not be pardon, but justice. It is not
(b) because we have any power to compel God to forgive, for who can contend with him, and how could mere power procure pardon? It is not
(c) because we have any merit, for then also it would be justice, and we have no merit. Nor is it
(d) primarily in order that we may be happy, for our happiness is a matter not worthy to be named, compared with the honor of God. But it is solely for his own sake - to promote his glory - to show his perfections - to evince the greatness of his mercy and compassion - and to show his boundless and eternal love.
3. They who are pardoned should live to his glory, and not to themselves. For that they were forgiven, and it should be the grand purpose of their lives so to live as to show forth the goodness, compassion, and love of that merciful Being who has blotted out their sins.
4. If people are ever pardoned, they must come to God - and to God alone. They must come, not to justify themselves, but to confess their crimes. And they must come with a willingness that God should pardon them on just such terms as he pleases; at just such a time as he pleases; and solely with a view to the promotion of his own glory. Unless they have this feeling, they never can be forgiven, nor should they be forgiven.
for mine own sake—(Isa 48:9, 11). How abominable a thing sin is, since it is against such a God of grace! "Blotted out" is an image from an account-book, in which, when a debt is paid, the charge is cancelled or blotted out.
not remember … sins—(Jer 31:34). When God forgives, He forgets; that is, treats the sinner as if He had forgotten his sins.I, even I; I whom thou hast thus despised, and wearied, and provoked to destroy thee.
That blotteth out thy transgressions out of my book, in which they were all written, and to be lead unto thee and charged upon thee another day. See Jeremiah 17:1 Revelation 20:12. Sins are oft compared to debts, Matthew 6:12,14, &c., which are written in the Creditor’s book; and crossed or blotted out when they are paid.
For mine own sake; being moved thereunto not by thy merits, but by my own mere goodness and free mercy.
Will not remember thy sins; so as to punish them, and destroy thee for them, as thou deservest. Isaiah 44:22, so as to be seen no more with the eye of avenging justice, or to be charged against the sinner to his condemnation. The author of this blessing of grace is the Lord, "I, even I am he"; who had been so ill used, and maltreated, as before declared; whose law had been broken in such a manner; and who is the Lawgiver that is able to save and to destroy; and who hates and abhors sin, and is strictly just; and yet, notwithstanding all this, forgives it; and which he repeats for the confirmation of it, and seems to express it with the utmost pleasure, and as glorying in it, and as if it was an honour to him, and a jewel in his crown; and indeed it is his sole prerogative; none can forgive sins but him: and this he does for his own sake; it is not procured by anything of the creature; not by riches, nor by righteousness, nor by repentance, nor by faith, nor by obedience to any ordinance; it is not for the sake of these that the Lord forgives sin, but for his own sake, and his Son's sake, which is the same; it is an instance of unmerited and distinguishing grace; it flows from the free grace of God; it is a branch of the covenant of grace; it is through the blood of Christ, and yet according to the riches of grace; and it is for the glory of all the divine perfections, justice, truth, and faithfulness, as well as grace and mercy; and after such a list of sins of omission and commission, to hear such language as this is surprising grace indeed!
and will not remember thy sins; God forgives and forgets; God will not remember the sins of his people against them; having forgiven them, he will never punish them for them, which is meant by remembering them; see Jeremiah 14:10.I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. Since Israel has neither brought sacrifices, nor even offered prayer acceptable to Jehovah, He himself must take the initiative in the work of redemption, blotting out its transgressions “for his own sake.” In accordance with O.T. analogies, the act of forgiveness is described simply as “not remembering” sin; but the actual working out of forgiveness in history calls into exercise the resources of Omnipotence; it includes all Jehovah’s dealings with His people, His handing them over to the dominion of the heathen (Isaiah 43:28), and saving them again in His marvellous providence. The verse, moreover, contains only one half of the prophet’s teaching about forgiveness; the other half is the process by which the people are brought to repentance, and this is the work of the Servant of the Lord, as described in ch. 53.Verse 25. - I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions (comp. Psalm 51:1, 9). The idea is based on that of sins being "noted in a book" (Psalm 56:8; Revelation 20:12). For mine own sake; i.e. purely from the love that I bare thee. Isaiah 43:16-21 : "Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth a road through the sea, and a path through tumultuous waters; who bringeth out chariot and horse, army and hero; they lie down together, they never rise: they have flickered away, extinguished like a wick. Remember not things of olden time, nor meditate upon those of earlier times! Behold, I work out a new thing: will ye not live to see it? Yea, I make a road through the desert, and streams through solitudes. The beast of the field will praise me, wild dogs and ostriches: for I give water in the desert, streams in solitude, to give drink to my people, my chosen. The people that I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise." What Jehovah really says commences in Isaiah 43:18. Then in between He is described as Redeemer out of Egypt; for the redemption out of Egypt was a type and pledge of the deliverance to be looked for out of Babylon. The participles must not be rendered qui dedit, eduxit; but from the mighty act of Jehovah in olden time general attributes are deduced: He who makes a road in the sea, as He once showed. The sea with the tumultuous waters is the Red Sea (Nehemiah 9:11); ‛izzūz, which rhymes with vâsūs, is a concrete, as in Psalm 24:8, the army with the heroes at its head. The expression "bringeth out," etc., is not followed by "and suddenly destroys them," but we are transported at once into the very midst of the scenes of destruction. ישׁכּבוּ shows them to us entering upon the sleep of death, in which they lie without hope (Isaiah 26:14). The close (kappishtâh khâbhū) is iambic, as in Judges 5:27. The admonition in Isaiah 43:18 does not commend utter forgetfulness and disregard (see Isaiah 66:9); but that henceforth they are to look forwards rather than backward. The new thing which Jehovah is in the process of working out eclipses the old, and deserves a more undivided and prolonged attention. Of this new thing it is affirmed, "even now it sprouts up;" whereas in Isaiah 42:9, even in the domain of the future, a distinction was drawn between "the former things" and "new things," and it could be affirmed of the latter that they were not yet sprouting up. In the passage before us the entire work of God in the new time is called chădâshâh (new), and is placed in contrast with the ri'shōnōth, or occurrences of the olden time; so that as the first part of this new thing had already taken place (Isaiah 42:9), and there was only the last part still to come, it might very well be affirmed of the latter, that it was even now sprouting up (not already, which עתה may indeed also mean, but as in Isaiah 48:7). In connection with this, תדעוּה הלוא (a verbal form with the suffix, as in Jeremiah 13:17, with kametz in the syllable before the tone, as in Isaiah 6:9; Isaiah 47:11, in pause) does not mean, "Will ye then not regard it," as Ewald, Umbreit, and others render it; but, "shall ye not, i.e., assuredly ye will, experience it." The substance of the chădâshâh (the new thing) is unfolded in Isaiah 43:19. It enfolds a rich fulness of wonders: אף affirming that, among other things, Jehovah will do this one very especially. He transforms the pathless, waterless desert, that His chosen one, the people of God, may be able to go through in safety, and without fainting. And the benefits of this miracle of divine grace reach the animal world as well, so that their joyful cries are an unconscious praise of Jehovah. (On the names of the animals, see Khler on Malachi 1:3.) In this we can recognise the prophet, who, as we have several times observed since chapter 11 (compare especially Isaiah 30:23-24; Isaiah 35:7), has not only a sympathizing heart for the woes of the human race, but also an open ear for the sighs of all creation. He knows that when the sufferings of the people of God shall be brought to an end, the sufferings of creation will also terminate; for humanity is the heart of the universe, and the people of God (understanding by this the people of God according to the Spirit) are the heart of humanity. In v. 21 the promise is brought to a general close: the people that (zū personal and relative, as in Isaiah 42:24)
(Note: The pointing connects עם־זוּ with makkeph, so that the rendering would be, "The people there I have formed for myself;" but according to our view, עם should be accented with yethib, and zū with munach. In just the same way, zū is connected with the previous noun as a demonstrative, by means of makkeph, in Exodus 15:13, Exodus 15:16; Psalm 9:16; Psalm 62:12; Psalm 142:4; Psalm 143:8, and by means of a subsidiary accent in Psalm 10:2; Psalm 12:8. The idea which underlies Isaiah 42:24 appears to be, "This is the retribution that we have met with from him."' But in none of these can we be bound by the punctuation.)
I have formed for myself will have richly to relate how I glorified myself in them.
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