Micah says God “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” The many shameful things we’ve done and covered up, the evil ruminations, all our caustic words—all these God will cast into the depths of the sea. To the Israelites, if something was thrown into the sea, it was lost and gone forever. The sea was the fearful place of the unknown, a vast and dangerous part of God’s creation. The sea was where you went if you never wanted to be found again.
The gospel knows no exaggerations. God doesn’t simply say, “I forgive your sins”—even though that would be saying enough, because his Word is true.
But in telling us about his mercy, God uses emphatic language, colourful comparisons, and gripping images to portray how in Christ He has fully pardoned our guilt. He is emphatic without ever stepping into overstatement.
Consider these four stunning windows into God’s forgiveness:
1) In Isaiah 38:17, Hezekiah offers this prayer to God, “You have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.”
Hezekiah had been sick and near death, but he repented and the Lord restored him. And it was as if the LORD had taken the king’s wickedness and thrown it over his divine shoulder, never to be seen again. Forgiven sin is in a place where it can no longer bring harm to our relationship with him: “You have cast all my sins behind your back.”
2) God declares to his people in Isaiah 43:25, “I am He who blots out your transgressions.”
Blotting out: like a scribe who hides a mistake on a scroll with a blotch of ink, or a student who uses correction fluid on his final exam. God has obliterated the sins of his people; in forgiving for Christ’s sake, God has covered, erased, deleted all our offenses, and He remembers them no more.
3) God says in Isaiah 44:22, “I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.”
You’ve watched a white fluffy cloud traipse across the blue sky and seen its transience. Here one moment, and when we look up again, it has disappeared. Like that, God has swept away our sins, evaporated our offenses in the presence of his glorious majesty.
God’s forgiving love is shown to be an amazingly powerful love, robustly effective and radical. His forgiveness doesn’t leave any traces of what was there before.
You Might also like
By Ben Stahl — 1 month ago
Consider the monument of lady justice. She is often displayed with a blindfold. Why? Because true justice must be blind to the person being tried. To put it in biblical terminology, “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). She has open and equal balances in her right hand, for “divers weights and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 20:10). She has a sword in her left hand, for rulers “do not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). In 1973, 51 years ago, the blindfold came off, divers weights replaced the balance, and the sword was laid aside. If a man kills a child in the womb without the mother’s consent, he is guilty of feticide. If a mother pays an abortionist to help murder her child, there is no legal consequence.
In her 2014 book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights: Reclaiming Abortion as Good for Society, Katha Pollitt suggested 6 myths regarding abortion:(1) The Bible forbids abortion. (2) Women are coerced into having abortions. (3) Abortion is dangerous. (4) There are too many abortions. (5) Abortion is racist. (6) Abortion opponents would never punish women.
Ten years after the publication of her book, Pollitt’s ideas are widely embraced by abortion apologists and by parents aborting their children.
Pro-abortionists are not alone in promoting Pollitt’s feminist worldview. Last November the Louisiana Baptists, a publicly pro-life organization, rejected a resolution calling for an end to, and criminalization of, all abortion. In support of their decision, leading pastors promoted the myth that a majority of women are coerced into abortion and therefore it should not be criminalized.
In 2024, 51 years after the terrible blight of legal abortion descended on this country and 18 months after the overturn of Roe, abortion is increasing, more children are dying, the gospel of God is obscured and withheld, and Christians are not clear on the facts.
May seven facts concerning abortion help Christians think and act biblically while pointing unbelievers toward salvation in Christ alone.
1. The Bible Forbids Abortion
Does the Bible have anything to say concerning abortion? Some would say no. Pollitt suggested the Old Testament is virtually silent unless Christians misinterpret Exodus 21:22-23. This supposed silence leads some, including some Christians, to conclude that God accepts or is indifferent to the practice of child murder. Seeing the divisiveness and “brokenness” it causes, they deem abortion a topic unclear in Scripture and therefore one on which to be silent. Is the Bible unclear or silent on abortion? If we join Pollitt and argue the Bible is virtually silent, then we can leave what amounts to a modern holocaust to courts, politicians, and pseudo-doctors to work out—all while the death count rises.
God tells us to test the spirits whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). Is Scripture silent? Is Scripture unclear? When we allow Scripture to speak for itself, what do we find? From beginning to end, the Bible is replete with references to children in the womb and the abhorrent sin of intentionally taking a child’s life.
In the Bible: “We do not have to wait long to find a clear indication of the sanctity attaching to man’s life and of the wrong involved in the taking of one man’s life by another. It is noteworthy that, next to the sin of our first parents, the first recorded sin is that of Cain, which had its issue in the murder of his brother Abel.”
In the Bible: God views the fetus (young human being) as being a life before conception (Jeremiah 1:5), after conception (Psalm 139:13-16), and through the full term of pregnancy (Luke 1:44). God knows children in the womb by name and, according to His sovereign will, saves some in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:13; Luke 1:44)
In the Bible: God refers to the “clump of cells” in the womb as a “child.” Pregnant Hagar was told by the angel of the Lord she was “with child” (Genesis 16:11). The phrase “with child” is repeated no fewer than 16 times in Scripture. God uses the term to refer to specific children in their mothers’ wombs (Genesis 16:11; Luke 2:5) as well as to many children generally in the wombs of their mothers (Kings 8:12; Ecclesiastes 11:5).
In the Bible: God views the personhood and value of children equally from conception to natural death. The “babe” inside the womb (Luke 1:41) is the same word in the original, βρέφος, as the “babe” in the manger (Luke 2:16) and the “infants” of whom Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me” (Luke 18:14-15).
In the Bible: God calls the shedding of innocent blood murder. It is the sixth commandment of the ten—forever preserving the divine principle concerning the sanctity of life (Exodus 20:13). Murder is one of the six things, yes seven, that the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:17). No murderer has eternal life abiding in him (I John 3:15).In the Bible: God particularly highlights the abomination of murdering children—a regular sin of Israelites and Canaanites as they made sacrifices to their idols. God refers to the parents as sacrificing their children to demons (Psalm 106:37). For the particular sin of child murder (among others), Israel was given into the hand of its enemies during the time of the Judges, its Kingdom was divided during the time of the Kings, and eventually Israel and Judah were brought into captivity and ruled by their enemies.In the Bible: God views children as a heritage (inheritance) from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). Men and women prayed to the Lord for extended periods of time and with much weeping for the blessing of a child (Genesis 25:21-28; 1 Samuel 1:6-12). The willful ending of a child’s life could not be more inconsistent with the will of God and the whole of Scripture as emphasized when God said of child sacrifice — “nor did it come into My mind” (Jeremiah 19:5).
In the Bible: God regards children both in the womb and outside the womb as equally valuable. As the practice of child murder was all too common, God gave specific prohibitions against it. Therefore, all the commandments against murder generally are equally applicable to children, whether they are born or unborn.
Does the Bible have anything to say concerning abortion? The Bible has much to say! In all that Scripture says on the topic, God categorically forbids and condemns the sin of abortion.
The Bible forbids abortion.
2. Women and Men Want Abortion
One of Pollitt’s central arguments is that women are not victims in abortion—they want abortion. She argues that less than 1% of women who have an abortion are coerced. Here Christians should find themselves in unusual agreement with pro-abortionists—albeit for vastly different reasons.
Pollitt’s conclusion: We should support the legalization and availability of abortion because women want abortion.
The Christian’s conclusion: Men and women are sinners, desperately wicked, and therefore want to commit the sin of abortion (Romans 3:10-18).
PR campaigns such as “Shout Your Abortion” and “We Testify” merge with organizations like Planned Parenthood to validate Pollitt’s claims from a decade ago. Men and women are rarely coerced into abortion—they want abortion. A large number of pro-life organizations and many Christians believe the myth that most women are being forced or coerced into abortion. They shrink back from the truth and ignore God’s teaching to protect, preserve, and promote life. In various settings I have been challenged on use of the word “murder” to describe abortion because, “It sounds very harsh.” Christians would benefit from spending time with women on the brink of having an abortion to gauge firsthand the women’s state of mind regarding their babies.
The worldview that considers people to be basically good is a humanist one, in contrast to a Christian or biblical one. “It’s not murder, just a very difficult situation.” In a humanist worldview anything bad is not really an individual’s fault—they probably did not want to do it in the first place. Christians would do well to reclaim the “T” in “TULIP,” remembering that men and women by nature are totally depraved. The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Given a license to sin, 25% of women will have an abortion by the age of 45.
While parents of aborted babies may end up regretting their abortions, the horrific reality is that the vast majority of them eagerly pursue it.
Women and men want abortion.
3. Abortion Is Deadly Dangerous
Pro-abortionists like to talk about the safety of abortion. They debunk the idea that abortion is dangerous on the ground that few women have negative medical complications. If ever there was a red herring in the abortion debate, it is this issue of safety. Safety in the same sentence as abortion insults common sense. Nevertheless, with Roman Catholic and Pro-Life organizations moving the discussion from the actual victims (babies) to the perpetrators of abortion—“abortion hurts women”—safety in abortion is a regular talking point. Meanwhile, the little children in the womb are never safe in abortion!
By Stan Gale — 3 months ago
John distinguishes truth and falsehood, what proceeds from the mouth of God and what is purported to be truth but is a lie. That’s why John will later urge us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). How do we test the spirits? How do know truth? By holding fast to the revealed word of God, which is truth (John 17:14-19).
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either (1 John 2:23, NKJV).
What comes to mind when you think of antichrist? Perhaps a mighty demonic being or a rival to the throne of Jesus, such as described by Paul to the Thessalonians: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 2:9–10).
John, however, has spoken to us of many antichrists. Yet whether singular or plural, they are all cut from the same cloth and present us with the same challenge in our walk with Christ and work for Him in this world. That challenge has to do with love of the truth and acting upon it. At stake are matters of life and death.
John addresses believers as truth-holders. “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth” (1 John 2:21).
By C.R. Carmichael — 1 year ago
Written by C. R. Carmichael |
Friday, December 30, 2022
Jesus is almighty to save! That which in itself is impossibility is possible with God. Sin which nothing else can remove is blotted out by the blood of Immanuel. Immanuel, our Saviour, is God with us; and God with us means difficulty removed, and a perfect work accomplished.
Whether “Baby Jesus” is fodder for a Will Ferrell comedy, numerous cartoon gags or the funny graphic on an ugly Christmas sweater, it is a sad indictment on our culture that so many people today find amusement in the miracle of the incarnate God. In the following mashup from two of his sermons, Charles Spurgeon begs to differ with the idea that the infant born in Bethlehem can be taken so lightly when God’s amazing grace and condescension are powerfully on display to rescue the troubled souls who so desperately need Him.
OH, MY FRIEND, if you make light of Christ, you have insulted the only One who can save you—the only One who can bear you across the Jordan—the only One who can unbolt the gates of Heaven and give you welcome! Let no preacher of smooth things persuade you that this is not a crime. O, Sinner, think of your sin if you are making light of Him—for then you are making light of the King’s only Son…
Instead… BEHOLD the incarnate Son of God born of Mary at Bethlehem! What can this mean for us but GRACE? If the Lord had meant to destroy us, He would not have assumed our nature. If He had not been moved with mighty love to a guilty race, He would never have taken upon Himself their flesh and blood.
It is a miracle of miracles that the Infinite should become an infant; that He who is pure spirit and filleth all things, should be wrapped in swaddling bands and cradled in a manger. He did not take upon Himself the nature of angels, which would have been a tremendous stoop from Deity, but instead He descended lower still; for He took upon Himself the seed of Abraham. “He was made in all things like unto His brethren” although “he counted it not robbery to be equal with God” (Hebrews 2:17; Philippians 2:6).
It is not in the power of human lips to speak out all the comfort which this one truth contains. If any troubled soul will look believingly at God in human flesh, he must take heart of hope. If he looks at the infant Jesus believingly, his comfort will come right speedily.
The birth of Jesus is the proof of the good will of God to men—I am unable to conceive of proof more sure. Jesus would not have come here to be born among men, to live among them, suffer and to die for them, if He had been slow to pardon or unwilling to save us.
— Charles Spurgeon (1834 – 1892)