by Pastor Tim Burt
January is gone and that means we’re getting closer to Spring! That may be more meaningful to us Minnesotans than you if you live in a warmer climate. The most wonderful thing about our cold winters is the covering of pure virgin-white snow. The trees glisten white after a fresh snowfall when the skies are blue and the sun is shining! Almost everywhere you look you see a breathtakingly beautiful majestic picture of fresh snow. As Spring comes and all the snow melts, we experience the opposite of what I just described. As the snow melts, the accumulated litter from the entire winter can be seen everywhere. And that reminds me of how we feel when we lose sight of the fact that God has forgiven our sins through Jesus Christ.
When we drift away from the Lord and begin to become loose in our thoughts, words, and behaviors, and when we let some of the sinful ways we turned from, creep back into our lives, suddenly we don’t feel so right with God. And of course, the devil is there to accuse us and cry hypocrite and fake! It is in those times that we forget about God’s robe of righteousness that He, by His doing, chose to place upon the ones who would receive Jesus as their Savior.
God’s robe of righteousness covers our sins and shortcomings like a fresh blanket of pure white snow covers the litter on the ground. It helps us not to see our own human imperfections and failings. Isaiah 61:10 NKJV says, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” And Isaiah 1:18 NKJV says, “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 as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Here’s an interesting observation about this last verse. The Lord is saying, “Come now, let us reason son together.” Another translation says it like this: “Come now, let us argue this out,” says the Lord. “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.”
Can you comprehend that the Lord has to argue with us about this? That because Jesus died for us and we’ve received Him as Savior—He has washed our sins away and made us as white as snow in His eyes? Its true! The hardest thing for any person to believe is that God would be this kind to them and do this for them just for repenting and turning their life over to Him. Many Christians struggle to believe that. They do because they see the litter—their own imperfections and faults and sinful behaviors they’re working on but slow to overcome.
It is for this reason, I always tell people—Don’t run from God when you are struggling, run to Him—even in the very moment of sin! When we stop and think about the depth of this kind of undeserved love so that He could clothe us with His robe of righteousness, then drawing near to Him out of love, overcomes the desire to run from Him in shame. He put this robe of righteousness upon us so that when He looked at us, He would see the robe—someone dressed in white who was made pure before Him. We know our shortcomings and sins better than anyone. But from day one in Christ, you’ve been a work in progress, and you could never be perfect in your own efforts. And so the Lord has given you this robe! We need to grasp the power of His righteousness as a gift of His love. Jesus, by His own doing, chooses to see the robe and and you righteousness that He paid with His blood! This is an awesome revelation of the gift of His love for you!
It is and always will be our ongoing challenge to become more Christ-like. That is a life-long process. Some will succeed better than others. But, we must let the depth of His love motivate us to embrace His Word and let it change our thinking and behavior, and transform us to be more like Christ-like. You will never find anyone that will love you more than Him! And as we sincerely run to the Lord, confess our sin, and lean on the Holy Spirit to become Christ-like, our conscience is washed again and again. Our spirit has already been cleansed but our sorrow and repentance cleanses our conscience and refreshes our heart and mind in the depth of His love. When we live in the spirit of thankfulness for God’s gift of righteousness, our thankfulness will actually translate into spiritual strength and desire to live more righteously. Let’s be thankful to the Lord and not argue with His mercy and kindness. Let’s simply praise Him for making us as beautiful as a majestically pure-white snowfall washed in His love. And do our best to live uprightly for Him!
Psalm 117:2 “For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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