The phrase “pillars of the faith” comes to mind first as I begin to reflect upon this modern gem of a song. There are several reasons for using this term, but first, allow me to introduce to you The Modern Post.
Actually, if you’ve been following this blog for at least a couple of months, you’ll recognize that I am drawing from the old well in at least three different ways: first, the song was written and first recorded by Jon Foreman (who I wrote about last fall) in 2006; second, the lead singer of The Modern Post is Dustin Kensrue (who I used last Christmas); and finally, this band is another product of the Mars Hill Worship network (who I covered via Future of Forestry last November).
There are several other good music products coming out of Mars Hill these days that I may get to over the course of time, but you can check them all out for yourself, if you like. The Modern Post is exactly what the title states: modern. They are self-described as “upbeat, synth-laden and bass-heavy sound that leads the congregation to praise the creator with freedom and joy.” So if you’re ready to get your happy-grunge-worship on, then have a listen to “White As Snow.” If the music is not to your liking, still consider the words, for they have quickly become as memorable, anchorable and central as some of the greatest hymns of all time.
Have mercy on me, oh God
According to Your unfailing love
According to Your great compassion
Blot out my transgressions
Would you create in me a clean heart, oh God
Restore in me the joy of Your salvation
Wash me white as snow
And I will be made whole
The sacrifices of our God are a broken and a contrite heart
Against You and You alone have I sinned
OK, back to the “pillars of the faith” part. There are a few quintessential truths and patterns that the Christian faith stand upon. If you removed even one of the them, the entire structure would collapse. Deity of Christ, Trinity, the resurrection, and grace alone would be a few examples of these pillars (head coverings and dancing would not). Another one that rises up out of this tune is the authentic repentance of the believer in Christ – both in the beginning of our faith journey and continually moving forward.
“White As Snow” is lyrically a direct quotation of Psalm 51, which captures the heart of David after he is finally convicted of his sin with Bathsheba. Thus, it is a Scriptural example of what it looks like to be genuinely contrite and repentant towards God. It’s as simple as this: the real grace of God always produces a desire for real purity before God. Because He has incredibly gifted us with His righteousness; therefore, we are intended and designed to respond with humility and passion for His holiness. “Wash me white as snow!” is our heart cry as a people consumed with the saturated grace of the cross.
If you have moved towards the Gospel by just mentally assenting its validity or accepting it as a license to live life however you want to, since you believe you have your fire insurance, then you’ve missed what Jesus really meant for you to gain and you have a shaky pillar underneath your feet. You haven’t swam to the deep end of the pool yet, my friend.
Examine the Bible and see that each time grace is mentioned, that it is coupled with an intense, direct command to live your life in light of the light of God and the pattern that He has set for us through Christ. The brilliance of God’s expectations of us is that He offers His Spirit to us in order to accomplish this perfect response to His mercy. David doesn’t say to God, “I will wash my own heart white as snow for you, God.” No. He asks God to do it for him.
Our attempt to live out a Christian life must be paramountly focused on a daily, even hourly, dependence upon His strength. We do this by living in constant meditation upon His grace for us through Christ and letting that beautiful gift naturally bleed into a heart that wants to and is capable of being more and more like Jesus.
A song like this is like a daily multi-vitamin for me that reminds me to keep this focus, to stand upon the pillar of responding correctly to proper grace. Confess my sins – because I don’t love them anymore – for I love the God who has and is making me whiter than snow! What does God expect of us? What can we give to the almighty Being of the universe? According to His love letter to us (the Bible) it is a repentant heart. Let your daily playlist reflect songs such as this one that emulates what God is so excited to see from us – constant restoration of the Joy of our salvation!