This week…the first of five benefits/promises that God is resolved to keep from Psalm 103:
1. God “forgives all our iniquity” (3a). “Iniquity” in the Hebrew refers to quilt, depravity, perversity, the worst kind of sins. And yet God “forgives” all of them. “Forgives” translates a Hebrew word meaning to pardon. God doesn’t excuse our sins, or pretend they didn’t happen, or consider our excuses. He pardons us as a governor pardons a criminal…he chooses not to punish us. Even though he could punish our iniquity here on earth and eternally in hell, he chose not to do so.
Later in the Psalm, David elaborates: “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us” (vv. 10 – 12).
Micah 7:19 adds that He will “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea,” and Isaiah 43:25 promises that He will remember them no more. However, as David notes later, God’s grace is extended to “those who fear him” (vv. 13, 17). The New Testament elaborates: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19).
What makes Christianity unique to all other religious constructions? We can do NOTHING to earn His forgiveness. Our faith is different. Grace focuses not on what we must do but on what God has done. Jesus’ death on our cross purchased our salvation and provided the path for God’s forgiveness. Now, when we confess our sins to Him, He can forgive us and cleanse us.
Pastor Jim Denison reminds us: “When you sin across this year, remember that God forgives all your iniquity. Bring your sins to Him as soon as you commit them, confessing and repenting with a heart bowed before your Lord. And accept His love that forgives.
Next week we will consider God’s second benefit/promise…God “heals all your diseases” (v. 3b).