“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” (Psalm 103:11-12, NIV).
Let me begin by addressing the word “fear” in this passage. Are we really meant to fear God? Part of this answer, I think, lies in how we understand the word “fear”. God is perfectly holy and just, and, because of our sin, we can never, on our own, live up to the perfect standard he sets. Scripture says that even our most “…righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV).
In Old Testament times, people “feared” God to such an extent that they refused to even speak his name. This is, however, the same God who knows each of us by our name. And what we could not do to earn favor with God, he sent his Son Jesus to earn for us.
By Jesus’ death on the cross, we are forgiven. We are declared righteous, made right, before our Heavenly Father. As followers of Jesus, we do not need to fear God because of what Jesus has done for us through his death at Calvary.
The rest of this passage of Scripture further clarifies our unafraid response to God.
Think of grace like this. A line extends infinitely in opposite directions. By its very definition, a line is without end. This is what I think about when I look at the above passage from the Book of Psalms.
The beginning point of our forgiveness is found at the cross where Jesus died. He took our many sins into his flesh and removed them from us “…as far as the east is from the west…” (Psalm 103:12, NIV). Our forgiven sins could not be more distant from us than how they are described by the Psalmist.
At the same time, God is with us. By his Spirit, he lives within us. He loves us. He forgives all our wrongs.
Believe that. Live today as someone who is truly forgiven and free. Because you are. Thank God for his grace and kindness.