Friday, September 6, 2013

Blood Red—Snow White

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” 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. (Isaiah 1:18)

“He said ‘the snow is no longer white. It’s red with blood!’” A neighbor lady reported this to us after receiving a letter from her son in Korea in the early ‘50s.

I had seen bloodied snow before. Its striking color had appeared next to a fallen whitetail deer, or a cottontail rabbit. Smiles and high spirits had attended those events. Red on the snow was the sign of a successful hunt—and it meant meat in the freezer.

But that’s not what our neighbor was describing, and his words contained no joy. For a farm boy who grew up in northern Wisconsin, a snowfall had been always exciting and pleasant. When he returned from Korea, we saw that he had changed. He no longer enjoyed the snow. He said it reminded him of pain and death—and red blood.

Through the Prophet Isaiah the holy God, who is judge of all, breaks into our daily lives to announce a decision by the divine court. The problem between mankind and our Creator is the matter of sin. It has always been that way since our first parents were driven out of the Garden of Eden. In case we are wondering how serious this is, we hear the warning of the Almighty One to Israel: “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my face from you...I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood!” (Isaiah 1:15) Could anything be worse?

What a surprise then, to hear that same Judge declare: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Could anything be better?

This should cause the human race around the world to jump for joy and shout out songs of thanksgiving. But, it doesn’t. Satan has blinded much of the world in unbelief. That free gift of salvation from God usually lies still wrapped and waiting—as if it were worthless. Meanwhile, we humans dive into the garbage piles of life to grab for what we have decided is treasure.

To help us see clearly, the Lord uses this striking picture of blood and snow, of red and white. It grabs our attention. It forces us to stare, and to listen. This is not a scene of death, but of life. The red stain of sin has been covered by white, as if by snow. Even the deep red of crimson becomes as white as wool.

There is a solution for sin. There is an escape from death. There is a way out from eternal damnation. The blazing white holiness of God covers up the deadly stain of the sin that seeps from our soul. In the heavenly court of God the righteousness of the Son of God wipes out all charges against us.

Jesus died for us! We are declared as pure as freshly fallen snow. The matter is settled.

We pray:
Heavenly Father, we admit that usually we do not take sin seriously enough. We often do not believe it is deadly. At other times, we tend to go to the other extreme, and become convinced that we cannot be forgiven because our sin is too serious. Draw us back to your decrees. Enable us to see sin in all of its deadly ugliness. Then allow us to see that, because of Jesus, our sin, which is as clear as blood on snow, is completely covered by your perfect holiness. And then, lift up our hearts in joy and peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

My photo
Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.