I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.
Because of texts like this, the early Church called Isaiah the Evangelical Prophet. What does "Evangelical" mean? A "good angel," a "good messenger," bringing good tidings of great joy. All who bring the good tidings from God to sinners are evangelical preachers. All the Bible prophets were evangelical, else they would not have been there. Moses himself was evangelical; even law in the Old Testament has evangelical issues, and Moses was a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ.
I. THE NAME WHICH GOD GIVES HIMSELF. "I, even I, am He." You do not find this style save in the Bible. This was God's manner of speech. Baal could not say this, nor the gods of Egypt. God speaks to you as a man amongst men: "I have something to say to you." When He singles you out, that is often the beginning of personal religion. God speaks to you and me personally; there is none save Jesus Christ between God and myself. Whatever your name is, put it into this text, and lift up your soul in every sentence, making them petitions. Israel had grown weary of God, and had got broken and scattered. Are there not those who are weary of Sabbath services, and wish Monday had come to get back to business? They love entertainments and social gaieties; but tire of Sabbath preaching. Another of Israel's sins is found in the context, "Thou hast bought Me no sweet cane with money." Did God indeed care for sweet cane? If you go back to chapter 3. you will find a list of the ornaments and dresses, and what they spent their money upon. Read this and digest it. Bring your bank books and drink books and tobacco books; compare them with what you have contributed to the upholding of evangelical religion. Take your sins to God, and He will blot them out.
II. "FOR MINE OWN SAKE." Not for thy sake; that rather takes a man down. It is all owing to grace. I quite agree to the terms. Pardon my preachings, my sermons, and take me in a pauper. How does that suit your views? — it suits me. In the New Testament we have it put for Jesus' sake; it is the same thing at bottom.
III. "WILL NOT REMEMBER THY SINS." How God forgets, I cannot tell. Isaiah says our sins will never again come up to mind, but I cannot imagine how I can forget my own sins. Some men say they have forgiven you; your offence is dead. It's all past; but you see from the man's eyes that it isn't past, and other people know about it. Take some examples of Jesus' way of forgiveness. You might have said, had you not known, that the first to meet Him after His resurrection would have been the Virgin, or the women of substance who ministered unto Him. But it was the Magdalene that was the first to gaze on His resurrection form! This was just like Himself. And if Judas had not fallen utterly, and gone to his own place, might he not have been chosen to preach the great coronation sermon of Jesus? Peter, the next great sinner, was chosen. Look how Jesus did: He gets the best service out of sinners, such as I.
(A. Whyte, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.