2019-11-27 Pure As The New Snow!

“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
he refreshes the soul of his masters.”
Proverbs 25:13

We received our first measurable snow last night, roughly 4 inches. There was a lot more than that in places across the country where this storm visited. We’re at the very end of November, so we really can’t complain about that.

There are some pretty cool verses concerning snow. The one in Isaiah is perhaps my favorite.

Isaiah 1:18 “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 like crimson, they shall become like wool.

As so often we see in the bible, there is also a blessing and a curse with this. Obedience, and we shall eat the good of the land; rebellion, and we shall be eaten by the sword.

What a wonderful God we have that gives all of humanity the opportunity to choose wisely! Now, I’m of the opinion that the bible teaches that humans are so miserable in temperament that we all refuse God’s offer and willfully and intentionally rebel all our lives, right to the grave. God’s offer is there, all our lives, right in front of us. Even so, we refuse it.

This doesn’t fit the way we are typically taught in church. Most churches say either that we are all good people who will be forgiven by a merciful God if we are nice or that we will go to heaven (maybe sooner, maybe later) if we are baptized in the church. We cover our bets on that by baptizing infants and calling it good.

But that isn’t what I see in the pages of my bible, all things taken together. What I see is the entirety of humanity in rebellion and God plucking a select few out of that mess so that he might have mercy on them. Justice is what all of humanity will receive, yet mercy will be granted only to some.

At the same time, we are not to find contradiction in all of this. We are very much capable of making wise decisions. Not only that, God holds us accountable. The fact that we don’t is not God’s fault. First degree murderers know full well they are doing wrong and are punished in our courts of law, right? Why would it be any different for us? Think about how many times you intentionally sin. Once the evidence is laid out before us, how could we possibly argue when we receive a guilty verdict? How could anyone?

It’s our refusal to even listen to the warnings that might just be our most damning action. And warn God indeed does. Those of us who have been exposed to the gospel will have the most to answer for. Those who practice a false religion under the guise of Christianity will have the utmost.

Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t talking about those who walk away from true faith. I would say this is talking about those who are familiar with the gospel, perhaps even enjoying miracles and other spiritual gifts, yet never repenting of their sin. They are frauds under the guise of Christianity, wolves in sheep’s clothing. What did Jesus say to those? “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:23)

Do you see how awful humanity is? We sit in churches, pray prayers we don’t mean, hear sermons on these very bible passages, and yet refuse to repent. Wow.

It’s not that the rest of the world is any better. They make up their own religion, too. While a third of the world calls themselves Christian yet makes up their own god, the rest of the world openly denies Jesus and also makes up their own god. They also are aware of the true and living God.

Romans 1:19-21 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Their judgment? The wrath of God. You know it, I know it, and they know it. What miserable creatures we are. Everywhere we turn, God is warning us, yet we refuse to be tamed. There isn’t a creature on the face of the earth that is so disgusting as man.

Yet, God does have mercy. On some. He is a God of justice, so justice will be exacted from humanity. But, he is also a God of mercy which he desires to show. He sometimes calls these his remnant. This group is small in number compared to all of humanity. Who are we to judge on the number he chooses or how he chooses any one individual? The fact that he would forgive even one is incredible enough. We should praise his name, and we will, even if he had mercy on only one. Or even if he had mercy on none. Yes, one day, all will praise his name, even the damned. (Philippians 2:5-11)

So, let me wrap this up with this passage, that we might properly perceive this great gift. How better to view the new snow than to worship God through his own words?

Ephesians 2:1-10 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I guess that pretty much sums up what I was trying to say. Enjoy the snow!

Father, I thank you for plucking me out of my rebellion. What a wretched man I was. My sin is stubborn, but I am pure as the new snow in your eyes. My mind can barely grasp that. Thank you. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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