“Wash Me and I Shall be Whiter than Snow!”

I am always struck by the purity of snow, particularly when it is covered by a layer of frost in the early morning sunlight. Everything appears innocent, beautiful, clean and new; in a sense reminiscent of the new-born babe in Christ. David said: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51v7)

These days purity in the human realm is almost sneered at, while sadly, in Christian circles purity is rarely encouraged in the Christian. There seems to be a widespread culture of preaching by which we are told that ‘we are all sinners’ and that ‘we sin in thought, word and deed every day’ – statements which are nowhere to be found in scripture. During the summer I attended a Christian conference where a speaker referred to ‘saved sinners and lost sinners.’ My heart sank at these words and after this I felt that the spirit was not in the meeting. Again, the term ‘saved sinner’ is nowhere to be found in the Bible and those who have been born again by the grace of God are never referred to anywhere in His Word as ‘sinners.’ In Psalm 1v5 we learn that “the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

No, it is not impossible for us to sin as Christians and we learn in 1John 2v1&2 that “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Note the use of the word ‘if’ here – not ‘when.’

In Psalm 51v10-13 we learn that a pure heart is a prerequisite to reaching others with the gospel… “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Those who talk of ‘saved sinners’ will often quote 1John 1v8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Yes, if we know that we have sin in our lives, then it must be confessed and repented of. However, we cannot read 1John Chapter 1 in isolation, for Chapter 2v1 emphasises: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” Furthermore this chapter goes on to set the standard for the Christian, with verses like this one: “he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (Verse 4) Finally, in this chapter we learn that: “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (Verse 29)

In Chapter 3v3 we read: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure,” while Verse 3 carries a warning to those who could be deceived by dangerous theology… “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”

We must not let men deceive us into thinking that the term ‘saved sinner’ is an acceptable definition for those who have been born again by the grace of God.  Sin should be regarded as a disease – something alien in the life of the Christian, and once found it must be confessed to the Great Physician and repented of immediately.

If there is something in our lives which needs to be dealt with, or if we feel that we fall short of that “perfect love” referred to in 1John 4v17&18, we have need of His touch.

Of course we cannot live a life that is pleasing to God in our own strength but surely with God all things are possible?  If we can trust Him to do it, He can cleanse, fill and empower us… for the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ washes whiter than snow!

Link to the hymn: “Whiter than snow:” http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/i/whiterts.htm

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