Saturday, December 11, 2010
As white as snow, but not like snow...
The blizzard today got me thinking about how Christ's atonement washes us white as snow - referring to taking away the 'crimson red' stain of sin on our hearts. One of my favorite hymns is Jesus Paid It All by Elvina Hall which has the refrain:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
However, when we use snow as an analogy for Christ's work on our heart, we must stop at the color. Beyond that, the snow is more of a metaphor for how we often deal with our sin by covering it up:
Snow is temporary
-Our wretched sin can be covered up for a season by our 'good' deeds or by our smooth-talking mouth making us seem better than we really are, but eventually the covering will come off and we will be seen for how we really are (we may even be able to make the 'snow' covering our sinfulness last most of our life - but once we stand before the powerful, holy, majestic Lord of All, that snow will melt away faster than an ice cube on the sun.) We cannot hide from God - learn from the lesson of Jonah.
Snow is cold and numbing
-Our soul can become numb to our sin. We can get to the point where we actually think we are good; indeed many people believe that man is inherently good. However, that is contrary to what Scripture teaches:
-Romans 3:32: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
-2 Chronicles 6:36: "...there is no one who does not sin..."
-Romans 3:9-18: "What shall we conclude then? Do we not have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of viper is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God.'"
-1 John 1:8,10: "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us."
-Mark 10:18/Luke 18:19: "'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good - except God alone.'"
Snow tastes good
-Sin tastes good to us. This attests to the above point. If we were good, or holy (which we one day will be) we would be disgusted by all forms of sin.
Snow tainted yellow is a warning to us
-Covering up our sin so no one sees it is not the way to live
-1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
-If our sins seeps through and turns our white coat yellow, let it be a warning that we cannot forever hide our sins from our brothers. We must confess our sins to God and those whom we have sinned against, so that our Father in Heaven will forgive us. Our sin will inevitably be found out, so when someone spots that yellow stain, lets open up and seek help to remove that part of our wicked self.
Snow drifts when there's wind
-When we have trials in our life that rattle us and push us around, our sin covering becomes agitated and shifts. Some areas of sin in our life are extra covered, and others are exposed. Our pride can be hidden when we do something worth praising; no one could blame you for soaking up the praises of others after writing a NY Times Best-seller. On the flip-side, the passing of a close friend or a family member can expose your lack of trust in God's sovereign control over everything and cause you to question your faith.
Snow gets sticky when wet
-Exposing our ficticious holiness to the elements of time can make it even harder to remove when the time comes to be progressively sanctified. The longer we dwell in our sin and hide it from even ourselves, the more we will be attached to it when the time comes to remove sin from our lives. The habit of telling white lies for years and years is hard to break. Gossiping behind everyones back is as addictive as internet porn and pride. All of these will consume a life and make your process of sanctification more difficult. Of course in the final act of sanctification no sin will be left behind, but once Christ opens our eyes to see Him for all He truly is, we will at that instant begin to become more holy and less sinful. Again, nothing can limit the Holy Spirit's ability to sanctify, but we can make things harder for ourselves.
May this season's snow remind us to always be removing the snow from ourselves and seeking forgiveness from God and others. Summer will come and the snow will melt. Let us not become comfortable with the snow.