The color red conjures up a lot of images in the human mind. A woman in red symbolizes seduction. The scarlet letter, assigned to the adulterous woman, was a shade of red. Red flags are meant to be warnings of impending danger. A thief is caught red-handed. Prostitutes live in the red light district. The character of the Devil is often seen in red. Red is the color of blood and a symbol for guilt, sin, and even anger. It is under- stood by most that if you drive a red sports car you will be pulled over more times by the police than if you drove the same car in white. Red gets our attention; it has a sense of danger, sin, and guilt associated with it.
White carries an entirely different sentiment. For centuries brides have worn white as a symbol of purity. White is considered a clean and bright color. Doctors and nurses often wear white. Some cultures view white as a sign of royalty. In early Westerns you could always spot the good guy because he rode a white horse and wore a white hat. A white knight is a man who rescues someone in need. If you were to see two women, one dressed in red and the other in white, you would probably associate innocence with the woman in white and looseness with the woman in red. You would never expect to see woman wear red to her wedding; the imagery is just too incongruent.
So how is it then that red is the new white—the new innocence and purity? In this ultimate act of turning things upside down, making red white, God takes red, the color of blood, and applies it to our ugliness and sin in order to make us white as snow, justified in his eyes, no longer held guilty of our sin. As red covers white so well and so permanently, so blood covers the sins of man.
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