Editorial: What God Does With Our Sins

Micah concludes his prophecy with resignation. As a representative of the nation, he knows Israel “will bear the indignation of the LORD, because [we] have sinned against him” (7:9).1 The Lord would use the Assyrians and then the Babylonians as the rod of His anger. But Micah knew that would not be the end. He even addressed his future enemies, telling them to “Rejoice not” (v8) when it happened because, although God’s wrath upon the nation was inevitable, it would not be final. God would act to judge the nation’s enemies and ultimately deal with the sins of His people.

In verses 18-19, the prophet used three nouns (sins, transgressions, iniquities) and four verbs (two in v18 and two in v19) to describe what God does with His people’s sins. The first verb (“pardon,” to lift or carry) tells us that God carries them away. The word is used in Leviticus 16 in relation to the scapegoat. The nation’s burden of guilt was symbolically transferred to that animal, which carried it away into the oblivion of the wilderness. The second verb informs us that God passes them over – “passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance.” This word is found in Exodus 12 when God passed over the land of Egypt and over the homes of the Israelites that had the blood of the lamb on their doors. The third verb of interest in relation to sins teaches us that God tramples them under – “He will tread our iniquities underfoot.” They are under His feet – crushed, trampled, with no life left in them. Let’s not give them another life. Don’t attempt to resurrect either your own or someone else’s sins. The last verb instructs us that God sees them no longer – “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” This phrase was used of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, so the Lord is going to give the nations’ sins the Egyptian treatment. As the people of Israel would never see these enemies again (Exo 14:13), so their sins would be out of sight forever.

The same descriptions (and more) are found in the New Testament concerning what God does for our sins. They are carried away by God’s Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh 1:29). They are cleansed away and forgiven by His precious blood (1Jn 1:7; Eph 1:7). Because of Christ’s work, they are covered and not counted against us (Rom 4:7-8). Indeed, the record which was against us has been nailed to His cross (Col 2:14). And under this New Covenant, God says, “I will remember their sins no more” (Heb 8:12). How many more ways does God need to tell us before we get it? Rejoice, believer. Your sins are gone!

Man has climbed every mountain no matter how high;
He has conquered the planets from sky to sky.
But there is a place where man has not been;
And that’s where my Lord says He’s buried my sin.

In the depths of the sea of God’s forgetfulness,
Removed as the east is from west,
Far away from all power and principality,
My sins are in the depths of the sea.2

1 Bible quotations in this article are from the ESV.

2 Phil and Carolyn Cross