Some of our friends up in the northeast got a big surprise last week with several inches of snow. Many were wearing sandals one day and snowshoes the next. Flowering trees, golf carts and many other things were covered with blankets of snow. Although I don’t want any right now, snow is very beautiful and clean, and it often covers up things that are dirty and ugly. God uses the beautiful, white snow to help illustrate how pure and holy we can appear to Him, once we have been forgiven of our soul-staining sins.
We read in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and 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 be as wool.” Since the time that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, Satan has been able to deceive man and trick him into doing all sorts of sinful things. Some of those things are so bad and ugly that Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:12, “For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”
The Bible plainly tells us that God hates all sin, not just those we would classify as being “like scarlet” or “red like crimson.” He not only despises every evil deed, but Jesus warns us in Matthew 12:36, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” Sinning with our speech is so common that James writes in James 3:2, “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”
There is another common way to sin. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches that man can also sin by having the wrong kind of thoughts. For example, He said in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So is it very easy to commit sin.
Satan tries to deceive us into thinking that sin is not all that bad. This can be seen in the way we often talk about it. We speak of “little white lies” and exaggerations, but God says that all liars will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8). We should not make light of any kind of sin.
Sin is breaking God’s commandments (I John 3:4). Man can deny that certain things are wrong, but if the Bible condemns it, it is sin. Any time we violate the Scriptures, it is sin. And the result of unforgiven sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is spiritual death, which is eternal torment and separation from God.
Every accountable person is guilty of sins. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But in spite of our sins, God loves each one of us. I Timothy 2:4 tells us that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He sent His only begotten Son to die for us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That is the good news of the gospel! Jesus took our place in death that we might live through Him.
When believers repent and are baptized, the blood of Christ effectively washes away our sins (Acts 2:38). Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. When we receive God’s forgiveness, He promises that He will never remember those sins again. That is referred to as justification. In God’s eyes, it is just as if we had not sinned. So, even though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow! Thank God for His love, His mercy, and His grace.