Wash yourselves and be clean! (v.16).
I accidentally dropped my cell phone into the garbage
can. It slid straight to the bottom, and when I pulled
it out, it was covered with some kind of disgusting
mystery goo. Horrified, I set to work spraying, scrubbing,
and disinfecting. I didn’t stop until the phone was spotless.
God called the people of Israel to “sanitize” themselves.
They’d been living as a nation of spiritual renegades
(Isaiah 1:4) even as they continued to observe their
religious ceremonies. God was seriously fed up with them.
He said, “I am sick of your burnt offerings” (v.11), and
“When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look”
(v.15). God didn’t want an outward show of confession
without an inner commitment to act differently.
Fortunately, God outlined a couple of steps to help the
nation get right with Him. He began by saying, “Give up
your evil ways” (v.16). As believers in Jesus, we have the
same responsibility to knock off the sin that separates us
from God. Anything less is abusing God’s grace. Paul
asked, “Should we keep on sinning so that God can show
us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course
not!” (Romans 6:1-2).
Once we discontinue specific sinful actions, it’s
important to replace them with activities that please
God. Getting clean involves “[learning] to do good”
(Isaiah 1:17). Specifically, we can lend a hand to the
poor, defend orphans, or champion the rights of widows.
Like the Israelites, many of us sin like crazy, and then supposedly come clean
before God every Sunday. With the Holy Spirit’s help (Ezekiel 36:27), we can
stop that cycle and align our actions with our repentant hearts. We can follow
God’s command: “Wash yourselves!” (Isaiah 1:16), and He will make us truly
spotless. —Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Read Romans 13:11 to understand the urgency involved in
getting right with God.
How does insincere confession by believers in Jesus affect the way
nonbelievers view the Christian faith? Why is it so important to replace
sinful habits with Godpleasing actions?