Whiter Than Snow

One of the advantages of living in northwest Montana is the fact that we have four distinct seasons, each with its own special beauty.  I always look forward to our first major snowfall–hoping it comes before the end of hunting season!  It didn’t quite make it this year as it came just this past week, when we received about seven inches one day and then the weather turned cool and clear–and beautiful. Since we seldom get wind in the winter, the snow piles up on trees and fenceposts and sticks to fences, creating some amazingly beautiful scenes. The snow provides great insulation and provides moisture for the months to come as it will eventually slowly melt and seep into the ground water reserves, replenishing them. Of course it also means we will not only get some exercise shoveling and snowblowing but we will also be able to get out the cross country skis and take advantage of God’s provision of the billions of snowflakes which have accumulated in the area.

     Most of all, however, it is another reminder of God’s promise to us through His prophet, Isaiah: ” ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool’ ” (Isa. 1:18). Scarlet and crimson speak of the guilt of those whose hands were “full of blood” (v. 15), speaking of extreme iniquity and perversity (cf Isa. 59:3).  Snow and wool are substances that are naturally white, and therefore portray what is clean, the “blood-guilt” having been removed.  When the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sins of adultery and murder, David confessed, saying, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psa. 51:7). Old Testament priests used hyssop, a leafy plant, to sprinkle blood or water on a person being ceremonially cleansed from defilements such as leprosy or touching a dead body (cf Lev. 14:6ff; Num. 19:16-19).  Here hyssop is a figure for David’s longing to be spiritually cleansed from his moral defilement. In forgiveness, God washes away sin and makes us even “whiter than snow.”
      It’s hard to imagine anything whiter than snow, but that’s how clean God makes us when we confess our sin. David also wrote, in Psa. 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Indicates that they are infinitely removed.)  Isaiah wrote: “For Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back.” The prophet Micah wrote: “Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:18,19). (And, as someone astutely observed, “He put up ‘No Fishing’ signs!”)  God spoke to Isaiah, saying: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins” (Isa. 43:25).  This verse is probably the high point of grace in the Old Testament. In spite of Israel’s utter unworthiness, the Lord, in His grace, has devised a way that He can forgive their sins and grant righteousness without compromising His holiness. He would accomplish this through the work of His Servant (the Messiah…Isa. 53:6). God the Son became man and as “The Lamb of God” took away the sins of the world (Jn. 1:29).  “He (God the Father) made Him (God the Son) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21).
      Once we have trusted Christ as our personal Savior, God sees our sins in Christ on the cross and sees Christ’s righteousness now in us. We have been made eternally clean, “whiter than snow.”  That, of course refers to our position in Christ which is permanently established by faith in Him (Jn. 3:16; Heb. 7:25).  We do, however, still have an old nature (until death) and still sin. “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I Jn. 1:8).  But, we also have the promise: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). And guess how clean we will be at that moment (in practice)? We will be “whiter, yes, whiter than snow!” 
    Each time you see a new blanket of snow this winter (or at least see pictures of it!), remember the gracious forgiveness offered in the blood of Christ which cleanses us “whiter than snow.” 
 
                                                                                                    Forever His,
                                                                                                            Pastor Dave
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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