White As Snow
When my wife and I bought the house we currently live in, it had this 7 foot solid white PVC privacy fence around the back yard. For 11+ years now, I thought it was as white as white could be. It looks pure white on a normal day, when I'm mowing the grass or working in the yard. But this morning, as the sun came out and began to shine on the snow, I noticed the fence isn't white at all, not when compared to the snow. It is sort of almost white!
As John writes in Revelation 7, a scene from Heaven, he relates this, "Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev 7:13-14) Rev 19:14 describes the armies of heaven as "white and pure".
Pure white is certainly not "almost white" is it? There are numerous scriptures, the vast majority in the New Testament that talk about us being pure, having a pure heart, pursing what is pure and striving to be pure ourselves. In 1 John 3:3 we read, "And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure." Unfortunately though, even on our best behavior, with our most intense effort at trying to live righteously, we only get almost white. We just can't get there on our own, we only get there through our "hope in Him" when we wash our robes "in the blood of the Lamb".
Jesus paid the price for our sin which keeps us from being white, and because He claims us, and because we are in Him, we can have the whitest of white robes, pure like the snow was in comparison to what I thought was a white fence. James tells us how to do that, "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." (James 4:8) Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God..." (Matt 5:8) Paul said, "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2 Tim 2:22)
Scripture is loaded with passages that tell us God wants us to be pure and white, not stained and dirty. One of the scriptures that sums that up the best is the 1st half of 1 Peter 1:22, where Peter says, "Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth..." We must obey Jesus' commands, and then pursue those things that will focus us in our daily walk. Paul helps us there too, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8)
None of us are pure in and of ourselves, only Jesus can make us that way. It's interesting that my comparison today was triggered by the pure white snow in my yard! In Isaiah 1:18, the prophet is quoting God, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." God has the power to do that, and our way in is obedience to Jesus Christ. Today, have you allowed Him to do that? Have you allowed Him to extend His grace, and wash your dirty sins away, and make you pure and white, as white as snow? If not, why not?