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Isaiah 1:16-17

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.


It seems clear, to me, that our righteousness is dependent upon our relationship with the Lord and embracing His holiness and love and not on our church membership, our religious rituals or what church we are members of.

Isaiah 1:11 says, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.” What a shame and how shocking to hear that the Lord is full of our religious rituals and sacrifices. The good news is that we are not left hanging there. Isaiah goes on to tell us that we are to clean ourselves up and put away the evil of our doings.

Of course corporate worship and service is an important and necessary part of walking with the Lord. However if we are doing all of the right things inside the church and ignoring and even oppressing the poor and needy outside the church, we are unclean before the Lord. He said wash and make yourself clean and then put away the evil of your doings and learn to do well, namely relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless and plead for the widow. How are we going to ignore and forget about the poor, needy, widows and fatherless after Jesus Christ came to us and saved us from certain destruction when we did not deserve it?

Just because we are in covenant with the Lord does not mean we are pleasing Him with the way we are using and spending our life. As the prophet Samuel said to King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Obedience is better than sacrifice! Sacrifice is absolutely necessary but obedience is a better thing. Sacrifice will come when we learn to be obedient to the Lord. That is exactly why God loves a cheerful giver. Sacrificing out of obedience is pleasing to the Lord. Sacrifice without obedience is unacceptable.