[God will] hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19
Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom knew the importance of forgiveness. In her book Tramp for the Lord, she says her favorite mental picture was of forgiven sins thrown into the sea. “When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. . . . I believe God then places a sign out there that says No Fishing Allowed.”
She points to an important truth that believers in Jesus can sometimes fail to grasp—when God forgives our wrongdoing, we’re forgiven fully! We don’t have to keep dredging up our shameful deeds, wallowing in any mucky feelings. Rather we can accept His grace and forgiveness, following Him in freedom.
We see this idea of “no fishing allowed” in Psalm 130. The psalmist proclaims that although God is just, He forgives the sin of those who repent: “But with you there is forgiveness” (v. 4). As the psalmist waits for God, putting his trust in Him (v. 5), he states in faith that He “himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (v. 8). Those who believe will find “full redemption” (v. 7).
When we’re caught in feelings of shame and unworthiness, we can’t serve God with our whole hearts. Instead, we’re restricted by our past. If you feel stymied by the wrong you’ve done, ask God to help you fully believe in His gift of forgiveness and new life. He’s cast your sins into the ocean!
Are you holding on to the false belief that God can’t possibly forgive you for some sin in your life? God wants you to allow His forgiveness to set you free!
Forgiving God, You sent Your Son Jesus to save me from my sins and shame. Help me to live in the freedom of being fully forgiven.
Psalm 130 mentions both redemption and forgiveness: with God “there is forgiveness” and “full redemption” (vv. 4, 7). Do these words have the same meaning? According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, the Hebrew root verb for redemption used in this psalm has a legal context and is used “when an animal substitutes (or redeems) a person or another animal.” In the theological context, it indicates “a freeing from the slavery of sin, the ransom or price paid for freedom.” Jesus provided this ransom through His death on the cross, giving His life “as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). We can be forgiven (or pardoned) for our sin because of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross. When we come to God in repentance (sorrow for our sin), God forgives and releases us (sinners, wrongdoers) from judgment and the penalty for our sins, which is eternal separation from Him.