2006-05-14 - A Book Without Words
Isaiah 1:18, "Come now let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they will be like wool."
I admit I like to read, and it was a great joy today to find a book on a topic I have been looking into for a short time, that was printed in 1549. However, it was written in French. Thankfully, the copy I found was translated into English in 1577, and published in 1579, and, while short, and written by a minister lost to time, I found it very helpful.
There is another book I recently read about, that a minister used to carry around with him and constantly read. It didn't have any words. It was only three pages long. And yet, this minister used to pull it out and bury his head in it quite often. As mentioned above, it only had three pages. The first was a black page, the second a red page, and the third a white page. Now if you are even half awake or astute as you read this, you know where I am going. But there is real profoundness here in this little no-word book.
The black page represents our sin. The blackness represents the depravity of our hearts, and the indwelling nature of remaining sin. This page is one we prefer not to look at, but we must. It is not enjoyable to think about our sin. However, in order to come to terms with our sin, we must deal with it. We have to confront it and recognize that it is there. Some might say that looking closely at our sin can only lead to despair. There is no doubt that it can lead to despair, but that despair should persuade us to turn the page. In looking at the desperate condition of our sin, we are to turn to the red page and look to Christ.
It is the only way to finish the book. We have to look to Christ and His atonement for sin. It is the blood of Christ that cleanses us from sin; thus the red page. We have to know the power of God, to cleanse us from sin through His atonement. The sin that makes up our black page, is through the forgiveness of Christ, made into the third page, the white page. It is Christ alone that can turn our black page into a white page which signifies purity. Without the red page, God can only view us through the black page of our sin, but when our book is fully written, it ends with the white page of purity through Christ.
The verse we started with says that our sins will be white as snow. If you have ever seen snow, you know how white and pure it is when it first comes down. After a while, it darkens some, and it is not nearly as white as when it first came down. However, this never happens to us when the penalty for our sin is paid for by Christ. It never loses its whiteness. When the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin, we are pure through Christ. This is why Scripture can say that we are justified and puts it in the past tense. (Romans 3:28, 5:1) While the process of the sanctification of our sin continues, the reality of being justified and made pure is still a reality. The white page symbolizes our true standing before God. In Christ, even our blackest sins, are, through His shed blood, made pure and as white as fresh fallen snow.
A short aside here. This makes a great Sunday School lesson for any of you who are Sunday School teachers. The project of making the book will keep the kids involved and interested, and a short meditation on what the colored pages symbolize will drive home the gospel to them. It also gives them something to take home and try to explain to the folks.
Soli Deo Gloria,