Is it possible to achieve spiritual purity? Some people think it is. For those who are trying to achieve it, I thought it might be helpful to discern the difference between white, as a color, and white—as in white light. If we don’t know the difference between color and light, we could be in big trouble.
The notion of spiritual purity, as a goal or an objective, comes from various passages in Scripture. Perhaps the best example of an end goal is found in Revelation 7.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9,13,14 NIV).
A literal interpretation would suggest that everyone standing before the throne and the Lamb is wearing literal robes that are white in color. But a literal interpretation runs into problems when we read that the robes are made white after being washed in the red blood of the Lamb. How would that happen, exactly? So, let’s go with the notion that people are standing in the presence of white light as they stand before the throne and the Lamb.
The difference between the color, white, and white light must be clarified as we move into the church of tomorrow. We cannot continue to be confused by our desire to achieve a spiritual color. We need definition, and we need it now, because our confusion affects the work of the church. It’s important!
THE COLOR, WHITE
The color, white, is achieved by a process of extraction, exclusion, or omission of all other colors, tints, tones, shades, or pigments.
White light can only be achieved by the presence, addition, or inclusion of all colors in the visible spectrum. When all colors are present, they cancel each other out and white light is created.
Can we see the spiritual problem that exists because of our confusion?
John didn’t testify that Jesus said, “I am the color of the world.” John testified that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12). Whoever follows the example of Jesus’ light will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
So, excluding pigment achieves the color, white, but that fails to move us toward the goal of spiritual purity. Separating ourselves from others cannot lead us to the heart of God.
Instead, we must include ALL shades, hues, and tones within the prism in order to achieve the desired goal of spiritual purity. For this reason, the example given by Jesus was the example of inclusion.
Thoughts along the way,
Carol Wimmer is the author of the acclaimed poem When I say I am a Christian, and three books entitled: The Net—An Organizational Vision for the Church of Tomorrow; The Clock—A Timekeeping Tool for the Church of Tomorrow; and The Key—A Spiritual Language for the Church of Tomorrow