I looked out my window this morning and saw a fresh blanket of snow covering everything. It’s no secret that I dislike winter, but even I have to admit that there’s something beautiful about a good snowfall. All pure and white and sparkling in the sunlight, it can make even the dreariest scenery look magical. There truly is nothing else quite like it. It is such a satisfying sight. I like to think that Jesus gets an infinite amount more of satisfaction and joy when He washes us clean, removing all of our sin and stains.
Fresh snow always makes me think of these verses:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Ya’ll. I’m just gonna keep it real here. I messed up big-time in 2020. More than once. I compromised on certain beliefs and ended up doing some things that I am ashamed of. When I look back on certain behaviors and attitudes, I am filled with such disgust. If I’m not careful, condemnation can very easily descend upon me until I am paralyzed with regret and self-loathing. It’s in these moments that I have to actively make the choice to remind myself of Truth. I have to get my eyes off of what I have done and instead focus on the work that Jesus accomplished on the Cross.
Can I tell you a story that has brought me a lot of comfort and encouragement? In the Bible, we are told of a leper. Now I don’t know how much you know about leprosy. It’s not a common disease today, and thank goodness for that, because it’s pretty gnarly. Leprosy was an incurable condition. Starting out small, it would spread and grow, until it consumed every inch of the body. Lepers were declared unclean and were banished from their homes, their family, and their communities. They lost fellowship with all who were dear to them.
However, this particular leper had an encounter with Jesus. He recognized his condition for what it was: permanent and hopeless. Eventually it would take his life. The leper also realized that he could never be made clean and whole outside of Jesus. Jesus was his only hope. So, he fell on his face before Him and cried out for healing.
“…There came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged Him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.“
What was our Lord’s response?
The word for “will” in the Greek is “thelo.” It means “to desire, to wish, to love, to like to do a thing, to be fond of doing, to take delight in, or have pleasure”. When we sin, God doesn’t want us to hide or run away from Him. He desires us to run towards Him, where He is waiting with open arms. He never turns us away when we humbly come to Him in repentance, asking Him to make us clean. He will always say yes to our requests for Him to heal our sin problems.
And God doesn’t forgive begrudgingly or half-heartedly either. He is eager to heal us. He delights in wiping away the dirt and filth. So much so, that He doesn’t make us wait or pay penance. He reaches out to us and washes us immediately. Once, our condition separated us. But now, we who “once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ.”
So when condemnation and despair over past mistakes comes knocking at my door, I will remind myself of this: My sins, my mistakes, my regrets no longer have power over me. I am not defined by my past. I am who God says I am. I am His child, bought with a price, made new and washed whiter than snow, and I’m gonna walk forward in that identity.
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.“