In short, mankind desperately needs to be reconciled to God (Isaiah 59:1-14 Isaiah 59:1-14 1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perverseness.
4 None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eats of their eggs dies, and that which is crushed breaks out into a viper.
6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whoever goes therein shall not know peace.
9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither does justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.
11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.
14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice stands afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
American King James Version×). It is our sins, our abandonment of His laws, that stand in the way. Only when we repent of doing things contrary to God’s instruction can we experience a true relationship with our Creator. We need to learn what He expects of us. We should not distance ourselves from the presence of God as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai.
What does He advise us to do? The answer is straightforward: “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7 Isaiah 55:6-7 6 Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
American King James Version×).
The Bible elsewhere refers to what is advised here as repentance —turning from our ways of doing things, and the bitter fruit those ways bring, and surrendering to God to begin living according to His ways.
God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” and forsake our self-induced ignorance (Acts 17:30 Acts 17:30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:
American King James Version×). (To better understand what it means to repent, be sure to read our booklet The Road to Eternal Life . )
God wants to show us the way out of our hardships and miseries and grant us understanding of the awesome knowledge of His plan for us. “Call to Me,” He says, “and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 Jeremiah 33:3Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not.
American King James Version×). He will reward those who seek Him with their whole heart.
In our information age we sadly lack the most vital information of all— the knowledge of God. He wants to reveal it to us, but we must be willing to accept it and do some digging ourselves.
In the final analysis, “he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×).
God offers the help of His Church, the spiritual Body of believers He describes as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 1 Timothy 3:15But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
American King James Version×). He encourages us to “grow in the grace and knowledge” of the wonderful truths of the Bible (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×). The members of the United Church of God, which publishes this booklet, are committed to fulfilling Christ’s admonition to carry the message of God’s truth to the world and teaching people His way of life (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×; Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×). We welcome you to take part in its work and to discover the truth in mankind’s age-old search for God.