“True Religion” (Isaiah 1: 16 – 17, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Your hands are full of blood,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 1: 15) He does not look; He does not listen. He says, “My soul hates” your solemn assembly, vain offerings, Sabbaths, convocations, and appointed feasts. (Isaiah 1: 13, 14) He finds each to be “a burden.” He is “weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1: 14)

Can you imagine God not listening, not looking at your “solemn assembly” in which you sing songs, preach sermons, baptize new believers, have altar calls, light candles, share pot lucks, pray prayers?

Can you see His back as He turns from you and your “vain offerings?”

God commands, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before My eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good.”

Can you make yourself clean? Can you learn to do good? Can you cease to do evil?

God offers a solution, “Come now, let us reason together; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword.” (Isaiah 1: 18 – 20)

“Seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1: 17)

True religion, “that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1: 27)

“Though Your Sins Are Scarlet” (Isaiah 1: 18, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord; though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

God asks the people to stop bringing “vain offerings.” He is unable to “endure iniquity and solemn assembly” in the same place, at the same time. (Isaiah 1: 13) The “appointed feasts,” He hates. (Isaiah 1: 14) He is weary of “many prayers” with hands “full of blood” spread out before Him. (Isaiah 1: 15)

God commands, “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before My eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1: 16 – 17)

James writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1: 27)

Jesus tells us that those who suffer do not suffer because they are worse sinners. “No , I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13: 3) In other words, “though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow.” As sin increases, grace abounds. Yet, this is not to say that we should commit sins so that grace becomes abundant. Paul says, “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6: 2)

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove all of your evil deeds from before My eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good,” says our Lord and Savior.