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Monday, March 13, 2017

When We Feel Dirty, God Washes Us Righteous!

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Here in Minnesota, our springs can be tricky. Just about the time the snow is gone, we can be blanketed with a late snow like we were last night. That’s hard to take but if you were looking for an upside to it, it would be the beauty of it—the covering of pure virgin-white snow. The trees, especially the pines, glisten white. Almost everywhere you look you see a breathtakingly beautiful majestic picture of fresh, snow. Because of the lateness of the season and Spring coming, the temperatures warm up quickly and the snow melts reasonably fast. What comes after that is about the opposite of what I just described. As the snow melts, the accumulated litter from the entire winter can be seen everywhere. It 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 sloppy in thoughts, words and behaviors—when we let some of the sinful ways we turned from, creep back in, suddenly we don't feel so right with God and the devil is there to accuse us and cry hypocrite and fake! It is in those times that we forget about His 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 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. It’s hard for people to believe that because we see the litter—our own imperfections and faults and sinful behaviors we are working to overcome.

It is for this reason, I always tell people, Don't run from God when you are struggling, run to Himeven in the very moment of sin! When we stop and think about the depth of this kind of undeserved love and what Jesus bore in suffering 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 someone who was made pure before Him. We know only too well of the litter under our robe and the help of the Holy Spirit we need, but we also 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 righteousness that He paid with His blood—for you! 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. 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. 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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