Living in the north, we are often met throughout the winter with some beautiful snowstorms. Nothing is as beautiful and magical as looking out your window and seeing what looks like an enormous white blanket. Everything is covered in whiteness and seems as if it replaced all the old grass, dead flowers in the garden, and mud. It is pure bliss. Even as an almost thirty-year-old, I am always in awe of the snow’s beauty. As magical as it appears to the eye, snow can also bring our hearts a reminder of the gospel. God tells us that our hearts will be as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). The beauty of the snow covers the yucky, dead leaves and grass. But unlike snow that will melt away, God’s washing of our sin is an eternal promise fulfilled by a covenant God.
It’s not fun comparing our sin to dead flowers and nasty mud, but here I am describing our lives before Christ like that. Ephesians 2 tells us that we were dead in our sin. Dead. Death has no life and no hope. That is who we were. We followed the prince of the power of the air. While we thought we were living in freedom, doing as we pleased, we were, in fact, in bondage to sin. Imagine yourself chained by handcuffs to a pole, and you cannot escape. You might be outside and can use your phone or order food through GRUBHUB, but you are still in chains. You are still enslaved. Your freedom is not there because you are bound; you are stuck.
In the same way, before we come to Christ, we are bound to sin. We are stuck, and there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves. We don’t have the key to freedom.
But unlike snow that will melt away, God’s washing of our sin is an eternal promise fulfilled by a covenant God.
The beauty of the gospel is that it always has a ‘but.’ In Ephesians 2, if you continue to read, we see “But God.” These two words alone should bring us to rejoice. He loved us while we were enslaved and when we deserved death. Instead of destroying us for our sin, God poured out His mercy and grace on us. He covered us by the blood of the perfect, spotless sacrifice in Jesus. He saved us by His grace; He had the key, and He removed us from our slavery to sin and called us as His own. The blood spilled for our sin makes us look like the beautiful, white blanket of snow I often see outside my house, to the eyes of a Holy God. He covered us. Not because we deserved it, but because it pleased and glorified Him.
When we think about who we were before Christ and then consider who we are after, I often ask myself why we still choose sin. Why is it that? Even though we have tasted the freedom in Christ, we still crave the enslavement of corruption masked as freedom and happiness. I think the simple answer is we are in the “already not-yet stage” of redemptive history. Yes, we have been made new in Christ, but we are still in a sinful, broken world. Even though we are made new in Christ, we have not yet reached our glorified state. We still desire sin. Friends, the flesh is deceptive. Therefore, we must consistently bring our desires under the light of God’s Word. We must choose to obey Christ. It is a choice. Just because you are a Christian does not mean that the desire for sin will just disappear. Each day we must choose God over ourselves.
In all things we do, we must glorify Christ. We must never think we are out of reach of sinful desires. Sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is contrary to the Spirit (see Gen. 4:7). We must always be on guard and keep our eyes focused on Christ. But how? Memorize scripture so when temptation comes, you can remember biblical truths. Isn’t this what the psalmist says? He says, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Ps. 119:11).”
He covered us. Not because we deserved it, but because it pleased and glorified Him.
Second, stay constant in prayer. It is in prayer that our wills are brought into submission for God’s will. Third, stay connected in the local church to be encouraged, strengthened, and taught. We need the local church body. It’s in Hebrews that we read, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end (Heb. 3:12-14).” We have blind spots in our lives. We need others to exhort us when missing the mark and point us back to Christ.
Third, dwell daily on the Word of God. Sanctification is a continual process, and one day it will be complete when Christ returns. Until then, we must choose Christ first, love Him more than our sin, and seek to glorify Christ in the ordinary and mundane. Jesus prayed, “sanctify them in truth; your word is truth (John 17:17).” The Word of God examines us as we read it. Through the Word of God, our sins are exposed, and we are given a prognosis for its cure.
Remember, we are no longer in chains to sin. God does not see us as the dead leaves and nasty mud. No, He sees us as the beautiful white snow that beautifully sparkles when the sun hits it. As Michael Reeves once said, “as the Father looks with pleasure and delight on this perfect Son of His, so He looks with pleasure and delight on all who are in Him.” God used his key to unchain us from bondage and claimed us as our own. Our sin does not define us. Christ defines us; our identity is in Him. Jesus paid it all friends, rejoice in that.
“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and thine alone
Came and changed the leper’s spots
And it melts the heart of stone
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
He washed away
And when before the throne
I stand in him, complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat.”
Soli Deo Gloria,
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