Summary: A message about the forgiveness of God and how we need to apply that forgiveness in our dealings with others.
As Far As the East Is From the West – The Issue of Forgiveness
Today we look at a topic that doesn’t get much press in the pulpit nowadays, but we can’t neglect it. It is all-important in that it affects our relationship with God and with each other.
The issue is forgiveness. Forgiveness of God, and forgiveness of others. The reason it doesn’t get enough attention is because we are too afraid sometimes to tell people they need forgiveness, esp. from God. That calls attention to their sinfulness. We also don’t like to tell others of their need to forgive someone else for whatever reason.
Forgiveness is something we like to think we have a handle on. We would like to think we live under God’s forgiveness, and that we are free with our forgiveness of others, but do we really?
We are going to examine this today, although we won’t exhaust the subject. It is very possible we will take more time next week to get a better grasp of this whole issue of forgiveness. We’ll see how the Lord leads.
My purpose today is to help us move a big step forward in how we understand and apply forgiveness.
We are going to look at a few passages of Scriptures relating to the forgiveness of God and how that relates to our forgiveness of each other.
May we leave here today excited about growing in this essential area of Christlikeness.
The Forgiveness of God Is…
Please turn with me to Psalm 103, on page ______ of the Bibles in the racks in front of you.
We begin reading in verse 1:
-Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits –
Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is like the eagle’s.-
Verse 3 carries the key – He forgives ALL your sin. How much? All! Is there any sin His forgiveness does not cover? No!
Right now guys like former slave trader John Newton and serial killer Ted Bundy are in heaven, because when they gave their lives to Christ, their sins were wiped away. Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.
But that’s not all! Let’s continue in verse 8:
-The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever;
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.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him;
For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.-
Not only does He forgive, He removes them from the equation. Think for just a minute about a globe. You are travelling north, up through Canada, and up to the Arctic Circle.
At what point do you begin going south? When you get to the North Pole.
Now think about going west through California, to Hawaii, on to Japan, then China, past Australia, through Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean, back to the United States.
At what point did you begin going east? You didn’t, did you? You can keep going west forever. The same with going east.
You get the picture? God has removed your sins as far as the east is from the west. That’s a long way away, baby.
Isaiah 43:25 says this:
-“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”-
He chooses to not remember them. In other words, He won’t be bringing them up in the future reminding you of them.
That is good news!
But some of you are wondering about Jesus’ words in Mark 3:29 where Jesus says that whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven – he is guilty of an eternal sin.
The issue here is that the teachers of the Law were accusing Jesus of using evil spirits to drive out demons.
If you are concerned about whether or not you have committed this unforgivable sin, don’t worry – you haven’t. God wouldn’t bother with convicting you about it if you had.
Let’s recap: God’s forgiveness is complete, and He chooses to not remember them.
The Forgiveness of God is…