Ice. Snow. Record amounts in Western Kentucky for early December. Enough to cause some travel problems, but also enough to transform the local landscape with picture-perfect holiday style. I’ll share a couple of my photos with you here: one of our home, and the other of the FBC sanctuary building before even a lone squirrel had a chance to prance across the front lawn.
Everyone’s outdoor decorations look just a little better now. Everyone’s lighted garlands now pop with brightness against the surrounding snowy terrain. So go ahead and delight in it, friends – as snowfalls of any notable significance before Christmas are a rarity in these parts.
A winter wonderland as gorgeous and tenacious as the one we’re presently enjoying (hold on to that idea of “enjoy” as you scrape your car windshield) reminds us of a great Bible promise (Isaiah 1:18): “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
The Hebrew for “scarlet” means double-dyed in a sense: we’re so sin-stained that no trifling tears can wash us clean. But God through Isaiah promises that we can become as white as snow! That’s a pretty great thought for people who’ve indulged in sin the way you and I have.
The Maker of the universe is willing to reason with us. He certainly doesn’t have to, but He chooses to. The word “reason” is a legal term, and it reminds us of the New Testament reality that Jesus Christ is our Advocate (First John 2:1) before God the Father. In the most important court of law in the world – the courtroom into which you and bring nothing but guilt and shame – we have absolutely impeccable legal representation. You may have thought of God as only vengeful or spiteful, but that’s not the God of the Scriptures. The Lord is willing to show us our sin, and thus to make a way for us to see our need for forgiveness. He stands beside us in our guilt, and makes a way for the sentence we deserve to be averted.
And on top of all of that, because of what Christ has done for us by dying upon the Cross in our place, the Lord God actually forgives us.
Complete forgiveness? Yes! By grace through faith. The wonder of knowing Christ. Surely He loves us.
The Bible often uses the ever-present reality of God’s good creation to show us His astonishing work in our lives. It rarely snows in that part of the world, but Mount Hermon has a snowcap that can be seen throughout much of Northern Israel. The Prophet Isaiah uses the picture of pure white snow as a depiction of God’s cleansing work in us. Similarly King David prayed (Psalm 51:7): “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!” David knew that he needed a thorough and deep cleaning – not just a touch-up job. His life, like ours, had left behind a trail of filthy sins.
You and I must have the sacrificial blood of the Lamb applied to our hearts. There’s no other way. Christ’s red becomes our white. Then, when the Father sees us, He sees the spotless perfection of His Son.
Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788) penned it like this:
“He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace –
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!