"Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes;
cease doing evil; learn to do good.
Make justice your aim: redress the wronged,
hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.
Come now, let us set things right..."
Isaiah Ch 1:16-18
My initial response to reading this was, "hear the orphan's plea! I can do that!... wait a second that is the easy one!" That is the one I would pick on that list that I would feel good about. I could tell myself, "Look at what I did; I helped an orphan today! Look at what a good and repentant Christian I am." This would not be about repentance but about me making myself feel better.
As if that wasn't bad enough I reread the passage and I realized that this was not a multiple choice repentance. There are no options given.
The Prophet Isaiah does not say something to the effect of, "discern on one of the following and see which you would most like to do...please?" He calls us to a REAL change of life. Isaiah wants to show us that one cannot have real change without removing the bad and replacing it with a good. I cannot keep repeating the same sins over and over again and think it will be okay by adding some good acts on top of that. As if the more good I do it will cover up the real problem. Covering up a mess in a dirty room is very different from cleaning up that mess. One actually changes something and the other just hides it.
One of the greatest challenges of our faith in Jesus Christ is this: Am I willing to change my life for God?
I think this question is not a multiple choice one, but a True or False question.
"Come now, let us set things right..."