“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12)
As Christians, one of the worst mistakes we can ever make is to discount the necessity of the cross in salvation. Equally great, however, is to believe that what Jesus did on the cross was not sufficient for our sin. Do we fully grasp the completeness of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ? Atonement is defined as something that restores a broken relationship, making amends for offenses and thereby satisfies the wrong that has been done. In the case of salvation, it is where Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God and paid the penalty for our sin in order that we wouldn’t have to. I believe sometimes in our minds we say, “I know Jesus paid it all” while our actions and our hearts testify to the contrary. We are called to the share in Christ’ suffering, to take up our cross daily, but as far as Scripture is concerned, self atonement, self saving is not possible. More than that, it is not necessary.
Known as a man after God’s own heart, sin touched David’s life greatly. Consequences for those sins also ensued. In Psalm 103, David meditated on the great truths of God, reminding himself not only of how worthy the LORD was of his praise, but also the many reasons he had for praising Him. David praised God for his mercy and grace in withholding immediate justice because of sin, and for His steadfast love for those who feared Him (Psalm 103:10-11). In verse twelve, David praised God for the extent of His love. “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” Just as the distance between heaven and earth, the distance between east and west is immeasurable. But that is how far God has removed our sins from us. How is that possible? It is possible because of the greatness of God’s love for you and me. It is also possible because of the perfection of Christ’s atonement.
Simply put, the atonement of Jesus Christ fully satisfied God’s wrath, such that, as believers, we will never be condemned for our sin. When we realize what God has done through Jesus Christ, it brings freedom, not freedom to sin, but freedom to glorify God with our lives. So get down from the cross and accept the perfect atonement of Jesus because it is sufficient. There is nothing left for you to pay. You’re called to take up your cross, not to hang on it. Jesus did that. He did pay it all. He paid it to the point of death. But on the third day, He rose and now sits at the right hand of the Father, a substitute and advocate for you and me. Is He not worthy of our honor? Is He not worthy of our praise? He certainly is! “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”
Father God, thank you for being so gracious. Thank you that when the guilt of my past haunts me, you say, “Don’t let it. It’s paid for.” Thank you that my present and future sins are also paid for. By the blood of Christ, I have been redeemed. Help me to live that redemption, recognizing its perfection and let it be cause for constant praise from my whole heart each and every day.