I’m currently doing a weekend talk series called “Clean Slate”, it’s a series about forgiveness. I wanted to call the series “The Real F Word” but most of my staff didn’t like the idea. So, I thought I would blog about it, because this is the “F” word that will change your life.
To “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to cancel a debt or to pardon someone. It’s not because someone deserves it, it is instead an act of love or mercy or grace. God created each of us as His masterpiece, if our lives are going to reflect that it begins with us living in His forgiveness. Living in forgiveness is freeing. The reality is that most people, even those who claim to be followers of Jesus, still live in the guilt and shame of their past, as though they have not been forgiven.
To live in the freedom of forgiveness we must understand how completely God forgives. There are 4 word pictures found in scripture that will help.
1. Forgiveness: As far as the east is from the west
The earth has a northern and southern most point. However, there is no eastern or western most point that you can arrive at, east and west cannot be measured. If you were to try to travel to the furthest most western point of the earth, you would be continuously chasing it without ever getting any nearer to it. The same is true of the east. The Psalmist wrote this: “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalms 103:12 (NLT)
2. Forgiveness: Out of sight and out of mind
Take a moment and try to see what’s behind your back. You can’t. Even if you turn around, the moment you do so, you no longer can see what is behind your back. In Isaiah 38:17 Isaiah writes “… you have put all my sins behind your back.” (NIV) It is a strong picture of being out of sight and out of mind. To put something behind the back is a clear indication that God has made up His mind that he would never look or speak of it again.
3. Forgiveness: The removal of a stain
Have you ever spilled grape juice on white carpet? I have. The stain is glaringly visible for everyone to see. The solution is to have the stain removed; making the carpet new. That is what God does when we ask for His forgiveness: “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 NLT)
4. Forgiveness: In the deepest part of the ocean
When I read Micah 7:19: “Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (NLT) I can’t help but things that are lost at sea that will never be found. Notice this verse says the “depths of the ocean.” The ocean at it deepest is approximately 36,200 feet. Drop something in it and you can be assured it will never be seen again!
Living in the complete freedom of God’s forgiveness opens the door for you to unleash your potential as the masterpiece He created you to be.