PS 103: 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.
Another great passage from King David celebrating God’s mercy and grace. I’m drawn especially to v.12 “as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us”. East and west are, of course, polar opposite directions so the image here is one of great distance. God’s forgiveness of sin is complete, removing the stain of sin from us entirely.
I need to be reminded of this because sometimes my sins seem very close, despite being forgiven. I think of them and feel shame instead of relief. In part this is a strategy of the “accuser”, which is another name for satan. The accuser continually points out our shortcomings and transgressions – even those that are supposed to be behind us.
In essence the accuser tells us that our sins aren’t really forgiven, much less forgotten. They are something to be dangled in front of our faces on a regular basis, weighing us down from the inside. Too often I go along with this rather than resisting. But today’s passage from Psalm 103 reminds me of the truth.
The truth is that when our God forgives our sins – it is COMPLETELY forgiven. It is cast away “as far as the east is from the west”.
Gracious God, your truly are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. Thank you for reminding me the nature of your forgiveness. It is not partial. It is not given now only to be withdrawn later. Give me grace to receive the complete forgiveness of my sins, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.