We lived in Lubbock years ago. There’s no city of more than 200,000 population that is easier to get around in than Lubbock. All the avenues are letters and run north and south — all the numbered streets run east and west.
Now imagine for a moment that the city of lubbock was perfectly situated on the north pole, with the very center of the city at the exact northern peak of the earth. When you drive away from that point, which direction do you travel? If you take off down Avenue Q, you can only go south. If you travel down 34th street, you can only go south. You cannot take off from the exact north pole and travel east — or west. You just can’t do it! And there is no way you can travel north from the north pole. You are as far north as you will ever go.
I know, you are asking, “Where is he going with this?” I mentioned this to illustrate what scripture says in Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
The distance from the north pole to the south pole is fixed — approximately 12,500 miles. Once you get to the south pole, you can only travel north. From north, you can only travel south.
But there is no fixed distance between the east and west. It is infinity. And this illustrates the scope of God’s forgiveness for sin. If you ever confessed Christ as your Lord, God has forgiven all your past transgressions and has removed them from you as far as the east is from the west. He never again will hold those sins against you. The sacrifice of His only begotten Son on the cross, Jesus Christ has covered those transgressions. And when you are forgiven, you are forgiven. Those sins are removed from you as far as infinity.
Aren’t you glad God didn’t say, “I will remove your sins from you as far as the north is from the south"? If that were the case, one could make a 25-day road trip and revisit those sins. That’s how far your sins would be removed from you. But if you travel east, and keep on traveling east, you will never reach the west pole and start traveling west again. The distance between the east from the west is limitless.
And that’s how far the Father in Heaven has removed your sins from you. That is the perfect way to illustrate the scope of God’s faithfulness, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.