We have just experienced our first snowfall of the winter in West Tennessee. As I stood from inside my warm house and looked outside the major thing that I noticed was the whiteness that blanketed every thing in sight. Freshly fallen snow is so pristine and clean.
Isaiah 1:18 tells us that “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” As I started to dissect this verse, I wondered why it says that our sins are scarlet. Most of the time we think of our sins as being black and dirty not scarlet. As I looked into it I found that commentators say that scarlet was used because it was the color of blood and blood stains to the point that we think the garment will never come clean.
Many times this is what we think of our sins. We think that we are so guilty and so stained we can never come clean. We carry around guilt and shame, much like Hester Prynne wore the letter on her chest in Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Even after we have asked forgiveness we have a hard time forgiving ourselves.
God assures us in this verse in Isaiah that he doesn’t do anything half way. He is fully capable of completely forgiving us and making us clean. If the example of the snow wasn’t enough, this verse goes on to say “though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Crimson is an even deeper color than scarlet but he can still make us white as wool.
Charles Spurgeon says, “The Lord does not deny the truth of what the sinner has confessed, but he says to him, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, I meet you on that ground. You need not diminish the extent of your sin, or seek to make it appear less than it really is. No; whatever you say it is, it is that, and probably far more.’” We no more need to minimize our sin than we do to wear a scarlet letter. God knows how sinful we are but is still willing and able to offer us the whiteness of forgiveness each and every time we go to him in repentance.
I hope that as you look out at the beauty of the snow you are reminded about the beauty of being made new in Christ. Tear off that scarlet letter, walk in forgiveness and worship the God who created the snow and a way for us to be whiter than snow.
“Come now, let’s settle this, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) (NLT)