Can you tell me how white snow is? What about the meaning of, “whiter than snow?” In Isaiah 1:18, we read: “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white AS snow.” In Psalm 51:7, David writes down his prayer: “…wash me, and I shall be whiter THAN snow.” So, let’s come back to our question: How white is snow, and what does it mean to be whiter than snow? How does this apply to us in our relation with God?
The Apostle tells us that we see, “…through a glass, darkly.” In other words, we perceive the truth, and the glory of God, but do not grasp it fully. Our vision is distorted, and enormously limited. What about the concept and truth of God’s forgiveness of our sins, and the corresponding cleansing of our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits? According to Scripture, our sins can be white like snow, even “whiter than snow.” What does this mean? It means that God only can forgive sin, and remove its dark and tainting existence, to the point that not only is there no trace remaining, but there is a brightness, beyond white, which will replace it…and it is His righteousness. In the absence of sin, we are left with His righteousness. So, we need to understand that God not only is desirous and willing to remove the guilt, and every trace of sin, but to provide us with an understanding that His work is absolute and forever. His righteousness is to be our occupation rather than the degradation of sin. In one of Robert McChene’s hymns he writes (…and prays), “…make forgiveness feel so sweet.” How can this be? Because of the understanding that the eternal God not only removes sin, blots it out, casts it away, but washes us, and our consciences, whiter than snow…there is no trace of that sin, nor will be forever.
How then is this to be our experience, that of walking in the light and being “…cleansed from all sin?” First, we need to understand that though we be redeemed, we will always have on this side of heaven, a propensity to sin. But there is a way, God’s way, to know the cleansing by God from sin. In Psalm 51, David first appeals to the mercy, lovingkindness, and tender mercies of God for cleansing. He then acknowledges that his sins which have been revealed to him, are against God and God alone. He realizes that he must be truthful, absolutely so. For he knows that, “…If I regard sin in my heart, the Lord will NOT hear me.” (Ps. 66:18) It is then that the cry of his heart is for cleansing, washing, …the plea for the blotting out of ALL his iniquities (…calling sin by its worst name). And then, there is the all-encompassing plea of the heart for the intervention of God: “CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART OF GOD; AND RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME.” (Ps. 51:10) This is God’s way, the way by which God faithfully intervenes in the life to remove sin, washing us as white as snow, even whiter than snow, a cleansing that is beyond our capacity to fully grasp. But that which we do know is that He intervenes to restore in us a good, and right conscience towards Him, one void of offense, that we should be free to love and serve Him.
One of the best, and most fruitful missionaries I have ever known, once told a group of us that the main thing she always did to maintain her relationship with the Lord, was to keep herself CLEAN. How? By the appeal to God, the confession of her sin, and the appropriation of the power of the blood of Christ…to cleanse from ALL sin, and forever. When we are serious about this, it only takes twenty seconds.