Spurgeon on ‘Whiter than Snow’
Last night’s sizeable snowfall brings back memories of growing up in Wisconsin. As a boy, my brothers, neighborhood friends, and I literally spent hours a day outside having snowball fights, playing ‘King of the Hill,’ and building snow forts with connecting tunnels. Those are wonderful memories. But now, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a deeper memory that a day like today stirs.
It is the memory of newfound forgiveness, the washing of God that I received in the spring of 1984 when the Lord saved me by His mighty grace. Now there is no snowfall that fails to remind me of King David’s prayer in Psalm 51, specifically verse 7, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” No matter how long any of us have known the Lord we need regular reminders of His grace toward us in His Son. Here are Charles Spurgeon’s comments on this verse. Let them stir up praise in your heart to the only One who is able to cleanse sinners like you and me.
Purge me with hyssop. Sprinkle the atoning blood upon me with the appointed means. Give me the reality which legal ceremonies symbolise. Nothing but blood can take away my blood stains, nothing but the strongest purification can avail to cleanse me. Let the sin offering purge my sin. Let him who was appointed to atone, execute his sacred office on me; for none can need it more than I. The passage may be read as the voice of faith as well as a prayer, and so it runs—”Thou wilt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.” Foul as I am, there is such power in the divine propitiation, that my sin shall vanish quite away. Like the leper upon whom the priest has performed the cleansing rites, I shall again be admitted into the assembly of thy people and allowed to share in the privileges of the true Israel; while in thy sight also, through Jesus my Lord, I shall be accepted. Wash me. Let it not merely be in type that I am clean, but by a real spiritual purification, which shall remove the pollution of my nature. Let the sanctifying as well as the pardoning process be perfected in me. Save me from the evils which my sin has created and nourished in me. And I shall be whiter than snow. None but thyself can whiten me, but thou canst in grace outdo nature itself in its purest state. Snow soon gathers smoke and dust, it melts and disappears; thou canst give me an enduring purity. Though snow is white below as well as on the outer surface, thou canst work the like inward purity in me, and make me so clean that only an hyperbole can set forth my immaculate condition. Lord, do this; my faith believes thou wilt, and well she knows thou canst. Scarcely does Holy Scripture contain a verse more full of faith than this. Considering the nature of the sin, and the deep sense the psalmist had of it, it is a glorious faith to be able to see in the blood sufficient, nay, all sufficient merit entirely to purge it away. Considering also the deep natural inbred corruption which David saw and experienced within, it is a miracle of faith that he could rejoice in the hope of perfect purity in his inward parts. Yet, be it added, the faith is no more than the word warrants, than the blood of atonement encourages, than the promise of God deserves. O that some reader may take heart, even now while smarting under sin, to do the Lord the honour to rely thus confidently on the finished sacrifice of Calvary and the infinite mercy there revealed. [C.H. Spurgeon, ‘Treasury of David’]
Whether or not you are ‘smarting under sin’ today, take a moment to ponder the forgiving grace of God and the acceptable sacrifice of Jesus that alone makes it possible.