Sometimes called the Wordless Book
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ~ Psalm 51:7
This explanation of the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus the Christ can be made into a Wordless book by cutting squares of felt out of the different colors; punching a couple of holes in the sides and tying the pages together with yarn. Tell the story as your child looks at the colors of the pages. It can also be made as a bracelet, using the various colors of beads on a leather cord.
Charles Spurgeon speaks of the “Wordless Book” in a sermon he preached in 1866:
“Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”—Psalm 51:7.
I daresay you have most of you heard of a little book which an old divine used constantly to study, and when his friends wondered what there was in the book, he told them that he hoped they would all know and understand it, but that there was not single word in it. When they looked at it, they found that it consisted of only three leaves; the first was black, the second was red, and the third was pure white. The old minister used to gaze upon the black leaf to remind himself of his sinful state by nature, upon the red leaf to call to his remembrance the precious blood of Christ, and upon the white leaf to picture to him the perfect righteousness which God has given to believers through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ his Son. … (read complete sermon here)
It was just the three colors. Dwight Moody is credited with adding the gold color, and Child Evangelism Fellowship with adding the green. J. Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, and Fanny Crosby are all said to have used the Wordless Book in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
|Black represents the darkness of our hearts that have rebelled against our Creator, going our own way and breaking God's Holy standards. This is sin, and separates us from God our Maker. "We all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;" (Isaiah 53:6) No sin at all can stand in the presence of God. These wrong doings, thoughts and attitudes cause us to live in darkness and be destined for Death and Hell, the required punishment for breaking God's Law. No amount of good can cancel the wrongs done. God is a Just and Righteous Judge. There is no scale to weigh the rights and wrongs against each other. All sin must be punished. We are accountable for our own actions, thoughts, and attitudes. All of us "were dead in trespasses and sins" "walk[ing] according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air" "in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath". (Ephesians 2:1-3)|
|Red represents the sinless Blood of Jesus, the only capable power to pay that punishment for us, so we don't have to pay it ourselves. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Jesus is God, who came in the flesh of man to live on earth for a time, to die a sacrificial death for the payment of the sins of His people. That is GOOD NEWS! Jesus was the only person to live who never sinned, never did or thought anything wrong, therefore only He can pay the penalty for our sin in our place. Jesus' blood cleanses the sin and darkness from the lives of those who are born again of His Spirit (given a new life by Him). "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7) This is a work of God, not something we can do. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us [brought us to life] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)". (Ephesians 2:4-5) Jesus not only died and paid the penalty of sin, but He also was resurrected back to life, in victory, with power over sin, death, and hell. "But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:8-10)|
|White represents the pure righteousness of Christ applied to our lives, through the Blood of Jesus "washing away" our sins. The price Jesus paid is not automatically applied to everyone. Those that have been regenerated (made new) by His grace receive the gifts of repentance (to turn away from their sins and toward God to follow and obey Him) and faith (to trust in His sacrificial death and victorious resurrection as payment in full for their debt). In other words, we know that we have sinned and deserve eternal death and hell. We know that Jesus is the only one capable of paying that price for us; there is no other way to God. We trust wholly in that work to make us "clean" before God. When we receive Jesus and His work into our lives, we are adopted into God's family. He is our Father and Jesus is our brother. "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) "He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5)|
|Green represents Christian growth. We, on our own, are incapable of not continuing to sin. We need not only need a Savior to pay for our sins, but also a Lord, to enable us to quit sinning. Jesus not only forgives us, He also changes us. He truly makes us a "new creature", a different person, but that doesn't mean we automatically never sin again. We still live in this weak flesh, with old habits in our old nature. Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to live in the spirit of those that have been renewed, set apart for God, and gives grace to strength us to say no to sin, and to grow to be more like Jesus. We grow in faith and are transformed by the renewing of our minds by His Word and His Spirit, but we will never be completely sinless until we cross into eternal life. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14) "Desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby" (1 Peter 2:2) "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26)|
|Gold represents Heaven. This is Eternal Life with God. God has promised that His people, those that are in Christ, that have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, will live forever with Him, in His Kingdom. Physical death is not the end. Those that die "in Christ" have Eternal Life with all the blessings and rewards that come from their Father God. Those that die without Christ as their Lord and Savior have eternal death in hell, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth and eternal darkness and fire. Hell is not a party. Heaven is, but it is a party for God with all those that love and follow Him in His way, worshipping Him eternally. "He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6-7) "This is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5:11-13)|