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Thursday, November 12, 2009

As Far as the East is from the West

"Nearness to God is the foundation of a creature's happiness."
~ Isaac Watts

As Far as the East is from the West

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
~ Psalms 103:11-12 (NKJV)

In Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin... Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
~ 1 John 3:5-6,9 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

The north and south poles are 12,436 miles apart. No such extreme point exists between east and west. The distance between them is not infinite. The two are simply opposed to one another without measurement.

The Hebrew word for transgression is pesha. It means the sin of rebellion, revolt, or to throw off authority. Such rebellion puts us in opposition to God—as opposed as east and west.

When we come to fear the Lord—to recognize Him as Almighty God and stand down from opposing Him—He makes available the mercy of Calvary. There God took the transgression of man upon Himself and removed it "as far as the east is from the west." God now draws near.

God once stood afar off. Now sin is far removed. Sin once tightly bound us. He is now tightly bound to us. Sin was once deeply inside of us. He is now inside of us.

Holy God will not have sin where He resides. Thus sin cannot be in us. Never.

If we commit sinful thoughts, feelings, words and actions, how are they not sin? Because they are no longer attributed to us. No matter what we do, it is no longer counted as sin, for then it would also touch Him.

This is no license to permit sin to abound—a topic of Hebrews 10:26-29 and well-covered in other posts here. It simply describes the liberty in which we walk as new creations.

Precious Abba, what words could we offer in gratitude for what You have done? You have taken what is most disgusting in our lives, filled with death, and exchanged Yourself—fullness of lovingkindness, goodness, light, peace, life, joy, love. We stand in awe.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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  1. "The liberty in which we walk as new creations." I know I'm not a wobbly toddler. I feel like I'm a young 20's with shaking limbs sometimes. I pray God strengthens my step. I'm learning to cling to Him at the times I can sense I'm about to fall. I'm grateful for how your posts speak to me.
    ~ Wendy

  2. Amazing to be so flawed as people and yet the Lord to be near us. Loved the post Anne.

  3. Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
    'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
    In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
    'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
    From one scarred hand to the other

  4. One of my favorite verses! That's how much he loves us! Thanks for this post.

  5. Wendy, "with shaking limbs sometimes" is such an apt description of this walk! I suppose the person who plods along or stands still might not shake, but to those who pursue Him, the chase fills us with quaking!

    T. Anne, there's no end to the way our God amazes me. Glad you "loved" this!

    Natasa, I've somehow missed this song. I sit here with tears in my eyes as I listen to it. I understand too well "I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again." The distance between two scarred hands of my Creator is so much bigger than my mind can grasp. Thank you for sharing this.

    Ellie, my kids and I just now finished our home school lesson from Ephesians 3. I can never tire of this!

    For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [that you] may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14,18-19 NKJV)

  6. Sin once tightly bound us. He is now tightly bound to us.

    What amazing grace of God!

    No matter what we do, it is no longer counted as sin, for then it would also touch Him.

    My opinion is that this sentence is stretching a bit too far. Believers still sin and it is sin no matter how we see it. But we are forgiven through the cross of Jesus, a painful sacrifice of God's only Son! The precious Blood of Jesus continues its powerful works, every minute, every day!

  7. Bible Lover, I freely admit that the sentence I wrote feels like it goes too far. Indeed, for the person who ascribes to Christianity as mere religion (trusting that mere adherence to its tenents offers assurance of life), there has not yet been atonement for sin.

    But of the one who has put faith in Christ's blood to cover all sin, Paul says of sinful actions, "But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me." (Romans 7:17 NKJV)

    I welcome an alternate explanation of the difficult 1 John 3 passage.

  8. Tks Anne, for your reply and your love for the Word!

    I would like quote 1 John 2:1-2 (NKJV)to clarify my stand, "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world"

  9. Bible Lover, this is how I see it. When we are in sin, we must confess our sins to be made clean. Once made clean, we continue to walk in sin, but it is no longer in us as it once was. Whatever other applications may be made of Jesus washing His disciples' feet, I include this: His blood has made me clean, but if I would abide in Him I must permit Him to regularly wash my feet of the sin in which I've walked. But that sin is no longer a part of my identity in Him.

    Denise, you make me smile!

  10. Bud Ezekiel, I appreciate the reminder of the difference between sin being in us and sin being on us. And, perhaps, the same might be said of "failure," in whatever context we might apply it to ourselves.


  11. Shalom Anne:)

    a long, long time ago you said to me, "Chew on it" for a while. as you know (this one thinks you do anyways)that I don't like leaving just an off the cuff remark or response to any post.

    initially when first reading your comment it really made me cringe deep within. it's still not setting too
    well. but I want you to know that this one is certainly
    busy chewing and trying very hard to digest this slant on it....if He wills for me to do so.

    1. Shalom, Bud. I think I've been chewing on plenty longer than you've ever taken. I'll now try to spit out a few words. Good ones, I hope. \o/


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