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Written by Lee Hanks   

 

The Gospel Messenger---December, 1886

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”--Psa., Ii., 7.

FIRST, WE will notice the “snow.” Snow is the whitest natural substance. It covers the earth and hides it from the natural view until the sun shines upon it, and then it gives way. The snow which covers the earth typifies the robe of righteousness which clothes the natural man. Now the Pharisee boasts of his righteousness thus: “I fast twice a week, pray three times a day, pay tithes of all that I have, I pay my just debts, I live soberly and uprightly with my fellow-man.” This is the most beautiful robe that can clothe the natural man, or earthen vessel. Our morality is commendable as natural citizens and is a beautiful robe. But our righteousness must exceed (be whiter) than that of our morality and deeds of the law, for by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified, and all the righteousness of the law will never save a sinner. Jesus says, “except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Second, We notice the making “whiter than snow.' The Psalmist says, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.” A bunch of hyssop was used to sprinkle blood on the lintels and door-posts of the houses of Israel on the night of their deliverance from Egypt. That blood typifies the cleansing blood of Jesus. The apostle says: “The blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” The deeds of the law will not cleanse us from Sin; hence this is “whiter,” for it cleanseth us from all sin. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify (to cleanse, or make whiter than snow) unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Notice, our righteousness must be greater, or exceed that of the Pharisees.

As to the outward righteousness we can not exceed them, but the righteousness we possess must be of the Lord, and not in man. “For this is the name whereby she shall be called the Lord our righteousness.” Again, “Your righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” Again, “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” When an application is made with the hyssop (Holy Spirit) of the blood of Christ, it makes us whiter than snow.

Notice now the washing “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he hath Saved us by the 'washing' of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Hence the “Washing” is the washing of regeneration. And when the sun shines upon the natural snow, it gives way; so when the sun of righteousness shines into the sinner, all his righteousness gives way, as with Saul, while on his way to Damascus.

“The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day,
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.”

God is the law-giver, Christ the fulfiller, and the Spirit the applier. He sends his spirit from above to Call the objects of his love. When we are born of the Spirit, we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ which exceeds the law righteousness. Then we are whiter than snow. And he gives snow like wool.--Psa. cxlvii., 16. Snow will pass away very soon, being natural, but wool is a durable substance. When we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, our law righteousness gives way. Hence he gives a durable righteousness that will continue. Then we are clothed with righteousness as with a garment. This robe was wrought out by Christ for his people, and is a white robe, yea, whiter than snow. And his people have come up through great tribulations, and hath washed their robes and made them white and clean in the blood of the Lamb. The prophet says, “As for thee also, by the blood of the covenant thou hast sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein was no water.” Yes, when we were in the pit, under the law of sin and death, in time of snow, clothed with a garment of self-righteousness until our eyes stood out with fatness, and we had more than heart could wish, hence we possessed a lion-like disposition of pride and self-ability. The lion is the king of beasts. That fleshly principle which controlled us--our natural appetite--desired sin and folly.--2 Sam., xxii., 20. But when it was the will of the Lord to bring us out of the pit, the love of sin and folly was killed in us, and all of our righteousness was a robe of filthy rags. All of our ability was taken away, and we became poor, hungering, thirsting souls. All that lion-like disposition was gone; hence we became poor, helpless beggars, and could say, “Lord, save, I perish.” I think here the lion was killed. We now desire to honor and glorify God. And I often come in contact with the lion yet, when in time of snow--when I am putting confidence in the flesh, I become self-righteous, and feel that I am something. But when that principle is again subdued, I see that I am nothing, and less than nothing, hence I see a necessity for the flesh to be conquered continually. I think, dear brother, that the Egyptian slain (1 Chron., xi., 23,) is the besetting sin spoken of by Paul to the Hebrews, (see 12th chapter, 1st verse) and the child of God is admonished to slay the Egyptian, or lay aside every weight, or the sin that doth so easily beset him, etc. The Egyptians which followed the Israelites is typical of sin, and the children of Israel looked back and saw all the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea. So when we profess a hope in Jesus, we could look back and see all our sins washed away in the blood of Christ by faith.

Dear Brother Mitchell, you requested my views on the foregoing scriptures. I have done the best I could with the light and space afforded. I hope you will make allowance for my imperfection. You said write this for the MESSENGER; if you desire, you can publish it, and I will perhaps write on the other scripture in the future.

Yours, in an humble hope in Jesus.
Lee Hanks
Ozark, Dale County, Ala., Dec. 1886.

Last Updated ( Friday, 06 October 2006 )
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