Filthy Rags

Author: Fr. William Most


By Fr. William Most

In 64:5 Isaiah wrote: "All our good deeds are like filthy rags."

Lutherans use this to prove all our good deeds are sinful, for they say we are totally corrupt. (Luther thought original justice, i.e., sanctifying grace, was a part of human nature. So the loss of it would mean a total corruption of human nature: cf. his major work The Bondage of the Will).

But they forget: 1) verse 6 says: "There is no one who calls upon your name." But many did. So, Semitic exaggeration. 2) Isa 40:2: "She has received double for all her sins." But that would be unjust-- more exaggeration. 3) Compare Is 13:9-10 on fall of Babylon, and 34:4 on Edom, and Ezek 32:7-8 on Egypt. - Same language as Mt. 24 on sun darkened etc.