If I wash myself with snow

If I wash myself with snow


By nature, man knows nothing of the purity and perfection of God—or the deep sinfulness and corruption of the creature. There is a veil over man’s heart—a veil of ignorance—of delusion—of unbelief—of self-deception as regards the nature of sin. No man is vitally and experimentally acquainted with—its hideous nature—its awful depths—its subtlety—its workings—its movements—its cravings—its lustings—the heights to which it rises—the depths to which it sinks.

But when the Lord the Spirit takes a man really and vitally in hand—and He truly begins His sovereign work of grace upon the soul—He commences by opening up to the astonished eyes of the sinner, something of the real nature of sin. He not only shows him the huge, high, wide-spreading branches of sin—but bids him look down and see how deeply-rooted sin is in his very being—that sin is not an accident—a faint blot that may soon be washed out—a something on the surface, like a skin disease that may be healed by a simple ointment. He shows him that sin is seated in his very bones—that this deep-rooted malady has taken possession of him—that he is a sinner to his very heart’s core—that every thought, every word, every action of man’s whole being—is one mass of sin, filth, and pollution.

And if he attempts, as most awakened sinners do attempt—to purify himself—to ease his guilt by lopping off a few external branches—if he attempts to wash himself clean from iniquity, the Spirit will teach him the meaning of Job’s words, “If I wash myself with snow, and cleanse my hands with lye, yet You will plunge me in the ditch. My own clothes shall abhor me.” (Job 9:30, 31). Until at last God brings him to this spot—that he is a sinner throughout—yes, that he is the chief of sinners—that every evil lodges in his heart—and the seed of every crime dwells in his fallen nature. When a man is brought here, he is brought to the place of the stopping of mouths—his own righteousness is effectually cut to pieces—his hopes of salvation by his works are completely removed from under him. Those rotten props are cut away by the hand of the Spirit from the sinking soul, that he may fall into himself one mass of confusion and ruin.

And until he is brought here, he really can know nothing—of a free-grace salvation—of the superaboundings of grace over the aboundings of sin—of God’s electing love—of Christ’s substitution and suretyship—of His atoning blood—of His justifying righteousness—of His dying love. He can know nothing of the rich provisions of almighty power and eternal mercy that are lodged in the fullness of Christ. He has—no eyes to see—no ears to hear—no heart to feel—no arms to embrace a whole Christ—a precious Christ, a Savior from the wrath to come—who has stood in the sinner’s place and stead—made full atonement for sin—fulfilled the law—brought in everlasting righteousness—and justified the ungodly!

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