East From West

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity…

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
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.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:1-3,8-14

David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.'” 2 Samuel 12:13

“Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus… Sin will have no dominion over you.” Romans 6:11,14

It is hard for a human mind to grasp the distance from east to west, but that is just the illustration David gives for the infinite space God puts between us and our sin when He forgives us in Christ. The Almighty, who Himself is beyond measure, describes in this treasure of a psalm the vast, unfathomable mercy of God in a way that compels us to bless Him and to live reverently unfettered.

NZ snow-capped mountains, lakes from air

The king had been miserable under the burden of his unconfessed sins, yet at the moment of recognition and acknowledgement, that sin bore no more sting, its guilt and penalty separated from him forever. Blotted-out sin cleans the heart, renews the spirit, and restores joy. Fully forgiven and dead to sin means alive to Christ as His changed and ever-being-transformed child. We are, in Christ, new creatures, as different as east from west. So how shall we then live? What does it look like to consider ourselves alive to God? (Psalm 32:1-5; 51:7-10,12; 2 Corinthians 5:17)

We live as the psalmist, continually blessing the Lord for His manifold benefits: He has washed us in mercy, invigorated our strength, guided our steps, worked for us righteousness, and loosened our tongues to proclaim His excellencies in praise and witness to others. David determined to teach sinners His ways so they, too, would be contrite and know His forgiveness. (Psalm 51:13-17; 103:4-7)

Living in the joy of our salvation means we are unencumbered by guilt, which Jesus has vanquished, and by shame, which we can nonetheless nurse ourselves in opposition to what is actually true about us. It means we are free to put off old ways of thinking and behaving and responding, and have power through the resurrection to put on Christ instead. We allow Him to control our mindset, our tongue and tone of voice, our flesh desires, our selfish impulses. (Colossians 3)

Loving Lord, You have separated me from my sin unto Yourself. May I, with steadfast zeal, live and rejoice in the “no going back,” ever blessing You as You deserve.

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