How are we to forgive others?  The apostle said in Ephesians 4:32, we have to forgive others as God in Christ forgave us (Eph. 4:32).

The different writers of the Bible under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit used various metaphors or word pictures to graphically describe the extent of God’s forgiveness.

First of all, in Psalms 103:12 reads “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”   The distance from the east is to the west is infinitely immeasurable.  The east and the west doesn’t converge in one point on the habitable planet earth.  The metaphor is showing us God has put our sins entirely away. They are so far removed that they cannot affect us any more. We are safe from all condemnation for our sins, as if they had not been committed at all.  The work of Christ on the Cross

Secondly, through the prophet Isaiah said of God, “For you have cast all my sins behind your back” (Isaiah 38:17).  If something is cast  behind one’s person back that person can’t see it anymore.  Likewise when God cast all our sins at his back means he can’t see anymore.  The phrase is expressive of the full forgiveness of sins, even of all sins.  The object of God’s love is the souls of his people; the instance of it is the delivery of them from the pit of corruption; the evidence of it is the pardon of their sins.

The prophet Micah said of God “he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”  (Micah 7:19 KJV).  The ESV renders it “he will tread our iniquities underfoot.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”  

In this verse Micah used two striking imagery expressing the completeness of God’s forgiveness.  God is pictured here as subduing and treading underfoot our iniquities.  Sin is an enemy to God and to us.  Sin is too strong and mighty for us; it reigns over us in a state of nature; we are under the power of it, and we cannot get rid of it, its influence, guilt, and punishment.  Christ has conquered it, made an end of it, and took it away; God tramples upon it,  as a conqueror does upon the necks of his enemies; it is subdued by him, and is under his feet; which he treats with contempt, disdains to look upon, keeps it under, so that it shall never rise again to the our condemnation.   Sin is conquered and held under restraints by the efficacious grace of God.  What a beautiful picture of the grace of pardon that God has effected to us in Christ when He sent to die in our place.

 During World War II, the USS Arizona was burned and sunk during the attack by the Japanese Imperial Army on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  With it 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors were killed and sunk and lost in the bottom of the sea; they no longer to be found as they were eaten by sea creatures.  So it is with our sins.

When the prophet Micah had said that God cast all our sins into the depths of sea; he meant that our sins are lost forever, never to be found, never to be recovered, never to be held against us.   God is in effect he has put a floating sign which states “Fishing is forbidden here.”  We are neither to want to look and fish for our sins and the sins of others because they are lost forever.  Do you see that regardless of how “bad” we’ve been many times and we committed the same sin, that God completely and freely forgiven us because of Christ?  Believe God on his promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

(To be continued)