WHITER THAN SNOW
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
How can anything be whiter than snow? That’s what the Bible says happens to us through the forgiveness of sins found in the blood of Jesus Christ. The Bible is actually a history not of perfect people but the story of incredibly flawed people who found forgiveness for their sins by grace through faith. Think of some of the key figures in the scripture. I think of David who committed adultery with Bathsheba and then murdered her husband Uriah trying to cover up his sin. Then there is the Apostle Paul who ravaged the church and was responsible for the death of the great preacher Steven. Who could forget Peter in his cowardice and betrayal. The list goes on and on; Abraham’s dalliance with Hagar, Judah’s repulsive act with a supposed prostitute, Moses’ murder of the Egyptian, and the incest committed by Lot. This is not a pretty picture, it seems like everyone used by God was deeply flawed. That brings us to the incredible cleansing power found only in the blood of Jesus. Martin Luther spoke often about the righteousness that comes only by faith in the blood of Jesus, here is something he said about spiritual cleansing.
“How can we become whiter than snow when sin remains in us and sticks to us? Because of our sins, we are never as clean and holy as we should be. But we have received baptism, which is pure. We have received God’s Word, which is also pure. And through baptism and God’s Word, we have received Christ’s blood, which is absolutely pure. Because of the purity we receive in faith through Christ, we can certainly say that we are whiter than snow. We are purer than the sun and stars, even though sin still sticks to us. Our sin is covered by the purity and innocence of Christ, which we receive when we hear and believe God’s Word. We should keep in mind, though, that this purity comes completely from outside ourselves. In other words, Christ clothes us with his own perfection.”
The beauty of the gospel does not end with forgiveness of sins. Yes, His blood can wash away the deepest stain from our souls but He does not leave us in that place of sinful behavior. The gospel also has the power to change us. We see the transforming quality of the grace of God most clearly in the New Testament. Paul is changed from a blasphemer to an apostle who opened the Western world up to the gospel and Peter is transformed from a coward to a man of uncommon boldness preaching Christ in the streets of Jerusalem.
Yes, there is hope for blasphemers, adulterers, murderers, cowards, and crooks; there is even hope for you and me. It seems the Lord loves to shine the light of his gospel into the darkest places in this life. Through the power of forgiveness God is glorified and we are satisfied.