The past has a way of haunting some people. The guilt of what they have done wrong plagues them from the breakfast table in the morning to the bed at night.

The good news of the Scriptures is that Jesus Christ forgives those sins. He does so, though, in such a way that they are not merely removed from His mind but that they might be removed from ours, as well.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

In this Psalm, the psalmist is seeking to show how merciful the Lord is. Instead of giving us the punishment we do deserve he gives us the pardon we don’t. To explain the magnitude of that pardon, he uses an illustration with which we can identify. When one gets into a car and heads out west, regardless of where he starts, he only gets further from the east. The east and the west never meet. By the same token, when the Lord forgives our sins, that’s how far He removes them from us. The distance those sins are from us cannot be measured.

A United States marine was one time court-martialed for larceny and found guilty. After being led from his quarters by a pistol-armed “chaser,” the bareheaded, degraded outcast was forced to walk past rows of marines who stood at attention. As passed each one, the man turned from him in an abrupt about-face. Meanwhile, drummers played in a searing manner. This stern, merciless custom of “drumming out” offenders from the service dates back to the English army of the seventeenth century. Their hopes were that this would remind the offender again and again of what he had done wrong.

God is so unlike us and so merciful. He does not chase us, instead when He forgives us, He chases our sins from us to such an extent that it is impossible for us to ever face them again. To that, all we can say is, “Wow! What a forgiveness!”

(Editor's Note: This article was adapted from a blog originally posted in February 2016.)