you ever lost an important file on your computer? That can be pretty
disconcerting, but the fact is, people who know what they’re doing can actually
recover most files.
is reassuring to know when you are trying to locate information that you’ve
accidentally erased. On the other hand, it isn’t so reassuring if you are
trying to erase material that might be incriminating. Knowing it might still be
in there somewhere is not a good feeling. So naturally, there’s a market for
specialized programs that write over unwanted files multiple times so that they
can never be retrieved.
you felt that way about your sins? Is there a nagging fear that God might not
have really eliminated all your sins, that he still might be holding some of
the worst ones over your head?
Psalm 103, beginning in verse 8, we are reminded that “The LORD is
compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” In verse 10, we’re
told, “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.”
can’t get much farther than “the east is from the west.” But despite such
reassurances about the love and mercy of God, we still find it hard to believe
that God has really put that kind of distance between himself and our sins.
we often find it very hard to forgive and to forget. So we suspect that, just
as in a computer, our sins are lurking dangerously somewhere in God’s memory. But
like an electronic file that has been totally eliminated, our sins have been “written
over” and totally eliminated. It didn’t need a specialized program – but it did
need a special sacrifice.
apostle Paul, of course, never saw a computer and could not have imagined one.
But he did understand that for sins to be forgiven and eliminated, they needed
to be “written over.” He pictured sin as a debt that was written down and
needed to be erased or wiped out. Here is how he explains it in his epistle to
the Colossians: “Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that
old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross” (Colossians 2:13-14, The
through his sacrifice, wiped the slate clean. Our sins are just not there
anymore. They are not lurking somewhere in a heavenly file. They have been
written over, and they are gone forever. When God says he has removed our sins “as
far as the east is from the west,” he means it. He does not want us to live in
lingering doubt about whether we are forgiven.
the computer expert finds your missing file, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
When God says he has totally eliminated the file of your sins, it seems too
good to be true. But that’s why the gospel is called “good news.”