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New Snow

by Tim O'Hearn

There is something wonderful, some might even say mystical, about a field of new snow. How marvelous it is to come upon such a field and realize that yours will be the first footprints in this expanse of otherwise smooth whiteness. For who can resist being the first to walk across new snow? To leave your mark where nobody else has been? To some of us, this is our way to leave a mark on the world. Others might say that it just shows man’s tendency to take the pure and make it impure, just as man tends toward sin.

God, on the other hand, chooses to take the impure and make it clean. He takes this same snowy field after I have walked on it, and obliterates my footprints by wind or more snow. He is the same in our spiritual lives.

It amazes me that God can take the foulest deeds and forgive them. It doesn’t matter what we do. God can forgive, and cover it with a blanket like new-fallen snow. Have I lied, cheated, stolen? He forgives. Jeffrey Dahmer killed seventeen people. God forgave him. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 because it gives hope that anyone can be saved.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

God brings snow in our lives. Not a blizzard that shuts down everything. Not a blinding snowstorm. Just a gentle snow to cover our past. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps 51:7)

Those who paint tell me that it would take several coats of white paint to cover a red wall. God doesn’t need several coats, however. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa 1:18) The interesting thing is that it is something red like crimson that makes us as white as snow—the blood of Jesus the Christ.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:13-14)

There is another side to this phenomenon that may be just as fascinating. Under the Law of Moses there was an affliction that was apparently brought on most often by gossip or slander. The Jews call it tzaarat, and the King James Version (and thus all subsequent English translations) called it leprosy. It could be found on bodies, clothing, or houses. Medically, tzaarat is not the same as the disease we know as leprosy, although there are some similarities. The principle symptom of this affliction on the body was a patch of white skin. This whiteness is described as being like snow. “The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.” (2 Ki 5:27)

It would seem that God will make us white as snow, one way or another. If we persist in sin he will make us snow-white with tzaarat, at least spiritually. Our bodies, our clothing, our homes will reflect our spiritual sickness. If we turn to God, he will also make us snow-white, but with a cleansing rather than an affliction. Do we want the whiteness that requires cleansing, or the whiteness that is cleansing? The choice seems obvious.