16 Wash! Be clean!
Remove your ugly deeds from my sight.
Put an end to such evil;
17 learn to do good.
help the oppressed;
defend the orphan;
plead for the widow.
18 Come now, and let’s settle this,
says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they will be white as snow.
If they are red as crimson,
they will become like wool.
19 If you agree and obey,
you will eat the best food of the land.
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.
The Lord has said this. (Isa. 1:16-20)
Salvation isn’t just about the individual. When we quote the verse about sins being like scarlet, but they can be white as snow… it’s about the community. God is addressing Israel.
Beyond that verse is the context. God is calling Israel back to faithfulness in their world. It is a matter of getting back to what the heart of Law asked for: to do right, to seek justice, to defend the oppressed.
I will not draw this out and ask how “America” is doing. That’s just not the right parallel, in my opinion. But for the people of God, how are we doing?
In this season of Advent, it is a good time to reflect on doing justice (which is far beyond the very narrow legal term we have made it today). How are we doing when it comes to the edges of our world?
The King came the first time to live out the example of how the Kingdom really should operate. He took in the margins. He cared for people at the edges.
Are we living in the example of our King? The Kingdom isn’t just about God taking care of my individual sins. It is about me living in this world in the power of the Spirit.