‘Wash me White as Snow’
An earnest prayer of a humble king
It is so easy for us, as human beings, to portray on the outside what we want others to see in us. There are so many times, we catch ourselves off-guard portraying something so different on the outside from what is really in our hearts. Thinking evil on the inside, portraying goodness on the outside. Lustful in thoughts, but acting pure on the outside. Judging on the inside but portraying agreement on the outside. Righteous on the outside but wicked on the inside.
So called ‘holy’ on the outside, but wretched, bitter and unclean on the inside.
In 2 Peter 3:11,12 , Peter says, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives, as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming…” He is reminding believers that in the end, when the bridegroom comes, the bride needs to be found “holy and godly”. We, the church and bride, need to prepare ourselves. But, the question is, what does it really mean to be holy in God’s sight?
The Pharisees and teachers of the law knew scripture and they condemned anyone who didn’t follow it to the letter. But, do you know what Jesus called them? He called them, ‘White washed tombs’ in Matthew 23:27. He pointed out on how they were righteous on the outside but hypocrites on the inside. Most of us know and have seen one of the seven wonders of the world – ‘Taj Mahal’. It is breath taking to view from the outside. Numerous historians and artists have failed to sum up its beauty in words. Yet, inside, it is dark and dingy. The Pharisees knew it all, but didn’t do it all. They said the right things, but did the wrong things. They were teachers of the law, but scorners of Christ himself. It is just like going to church all clean and tidy but gossiping about your fellow brother or sister. It is like judging someone for keeping their eyes open in prayer, but keeping your eyes closed and your mind elsewhere during your prayer. This outward show is not the holiness that Christ desires to see in His bride.
The true holiness that Christ desires in each of us is beautifully portrayed in King David, a man after God’s own heart, also a man who had committed adultery. To God, King David is like snow. Just as David prayed, ‘Wash me white as snow’. Like snow, clean inside out. In his prayer of repentance, David shows us how we can truly be holy –
- ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR NEED FOR HOLINESS
David cries out to God in Psalms 51:3-5, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
He acknowledges his sin before God. It is one thing to commit a sin, but it takes humility to accept and acknowledge one’s sin before God, the most Holy one. The beginning of becoming holy is identifying the stains, the dark spots in your life and acknowledging them before God.
Paul, the apostle who took the gospel to the gentiles and established churches, says that he does what he doesn’t want to do and he doesn’t do what he wants to do. He acknowledges what a wretched man he is and how he is thankful to God who saved his life. (Romans 7:14-15,24-25)
- HOLINESS IS A GOD-GIVEN TREASURE
This king, with all his might and power, knew that he cannot overcome his sinful nature on his own. He knew only God could make him clean, so he asked God, ‘Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.’ (Psalms 51:7)
When we seek God’s grace and remind ourselves of what Christ did for us on the cross, we will begin to see holiness emerging in our lives.Tweet
That is why Jesus had to die for us. God knew that man cannot overcome sin by his own efforts, so he sent His only son. Paul captures this crucial truth while comparing the relationship of a husband and a wife to that of Christ and the church. He says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
That’s why Paul admonishes us in Romans 13:14, to clothe ourselves with the Christ (who is our righteousness) and not gratify the desires of our flesh. When we seek God’s grace and remind ourselves of what Christ did for us on the cross, we will begin to see holiness emerging in our lives.
- KNOWING GOD IS KNOWING HOLINESS
Something amazing about David’s relationship with God was He knew God intimately. In Psalms 51:1, 6, we see that he knows that God’s love is unfailing, that God is great in compassion and that God desires faithfulness from man and taught us wisdom in the womb. Because David knew this, he was able to understand what holiness means. He knew God is holy.
Peter also realizes the truth that knowing who God is will guide us to know what true holiness is. He says in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Knowing God’s word (His heart) is very crucial to be sanctified and made holy. So, Paul prays for the church in Philippines, ‘…this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
- WILLING TO ATTAIN HOLINESS
True holiness also involves your desire to be made holy. King David, in Psalms 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
That is why, in Isaiah 1:18, God calls us to go to Him and settle the matter. And He promises to make us white as snow.
He asks God to make him holy which shows his willingness to be made holy. We need to reach out to God. That is why, in Isaiah 1:18, God calls us to go to Him and settle the matter. And He promises to make us white as snow.
Paul also reached out to God. He is willing to press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of him (Philippians 3 : 12)
- HOLINESS BEGINS AS AN INWARD CHANGE NOT AN OUTWARD SHOW
True transformation begins from your heart which flows out to every area of your life. And, King David understood this very well. So he tells God in Psalms 51:16,17, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise”.
True holiness is an inward cleansing that makes all things clean, but false holiness demands our effort to only make the outward clean.Tweet
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the law, “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26) Beloved, true holiness is an inward cleansing that makes all things clean, but false holiness demands our effort to only make the outward clean.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1 : 3,4
Holiness cannot be attained by man-made efforts alone, it is a God-given treasure to be sought out! The resurrection power of Christ is at work in us.
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