“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are scarlet red, I will turn it into white as snow; though they are red like crimson cochineal, I will make them white like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
In the Old Testament, having found His people in ignorance and unbelief, God exhorts them by saying, “Come now, let us reason [or examine] together…” God invites His children to come to Him and recognize that if they accept His mercy and forgiveness, He can cleanse them of all sin.
In the same way, on this first day of the Great Lent, God extends this invitation to us. However, mustering up all sorts of reasons and excuses, we deem ourselves as beings without wrongs and distance ourselves from God. There can be no change in our spiritual lives until we accept our wrongs, confess them before God, and seek his merciful forgiveness. The Apostle John says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
In ancient times, ink was derived from the Armenian cochineal (a red insect indigenous to the Araratian plains and Aras River valley). It was widely used due to its durability and vivid hue that withstood the effects of time and light. This ink was used for textiles, clothing, construction, and khachkars (cross-stones). To this day, we have evidence from fourth-century B.C. complexes and, later in medieval times, cross-stones that show the use of this ink.
To remove this crimson ink from wool is impossible. The metaphor used in the abovementioned Scripture speaks to this fact: God works the impossible. Our sins are like crimson ink on wool, seemingly impossible to remove. But when we accept God’s invitation and decisively walk towards Him, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us of our sins entirely, making our wayward souls as white as snow.