‘… the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV)
But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’
‘I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.’
Isaiah 43:1, 25 (NIV)
Dating when Psalm 103 was written cannot be precise, but the best estimate is that it was written around 1000BC. Isaiah 43 would have been written around 725BC, almost three hundred years later. Isn’t it encouraging that both writers could convey the enormity of God’s forgiveness in similar terms.
Thankfully God does not offer us forgiveness dependent upon how sinful we are, only on the fact that we are sinners, deserving of punishment, yet offered forgiveness based on what Jesus Christ has achieved on the cross. The psalmist puts it this way: ‘… he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.’ The quote from Isaiah 43 speaks of redemption (paying the price to get something back). This was achieved by Jesus, who paid the price for our sin so that we could be redeemed.
Once you have accepted Christ as your Saviour, God doesn’t remember or remind you of your previous sinfulness. Next time anything causes you to remember your own sinfulness, re-read the verses from Psalm 103 and take encouragement from the Psalmist’s words:
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
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