“Bar Code” Religion

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Isaiah Says

Isaiah 1:18-20

18 Come now, let us argue it out,
    says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be devoured by the sword;
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Some Thoughts

Suppose I bring a banana to the check-out counter at the store, but I have put the bar code for coffee on the banana. The bar code indicates that my purchase is coffee, but it is actually a banana.

Dallas Willard uses this illustration to highlight the error of thinking that we can pick up a ticket to heaven by praying a salvation prayer without any change in our character.

It is true that no one can perform enough good deeds so as to be made acceptable for heaven. If that were true, Jesus would have never had to come to earth and to suffer on the cross for our sins. However, when we enter into a relationship with the Greatest Being of All, Jesus, it should affect our character.

Some 700 years before the time of Jesus, God spoke of forgiveness in the context of our response to his love. The key is to be “willing and obedient” as opposed to actions which “refuse and rebel.”

When we are willing and obedient, God is willing and able to forgive us and to give us the best life possible that is frequently offered in the Bible.

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, please wipe away all deception that clouds my relationship with you. Help me to truly be willing and obedient, as the very best response to your love and grace.

Comments Please

What do you think about this important message from Isaiah? Please leave a comment for the readers of real-voices.com. Thanks.


  1. Father forgive me for being so arrogant. Help me to understand your Will. Cleanse me from unrighteousness. Bob, you are nailing me! Blessings on your day, in Jesus’ name.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So excited we are in Isaiah, been wanting to read it more. But even more I want a closer walk with God, so I echo today’s prayer.
    Thank you for these Emails!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s always amazing, and yet totally expected, how God ties His words together as we seek Him. This exhortation in Isaiah echoes Samuel’s words to Saul in 1 Samuel; “Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams” – we can’t halfway obey, or halfway be saved. I want to jump all in – to be cleansed from my rebellion and wholly devoted to following Him. Thanks, Bob, for your thoughts – great reminders of what is truly important. We can’t “phone in” salvation or obedience. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear God,
    Please help me to be obedient to your commands. I’ve never been good at following rules or orders so I’m asking for a extra nudge from you and help me to understand and hear your voice when your speaking yo me.
    Thank you for your grace and the love you have given me and help me to share to others the truth I found that only comes from trying my best to follow jvm

    Liked by 1 person

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