1. He forgives our transgression (Ps. 32:1,5).
David sought and received God’s forgiveness. The Hebrew word for forgiven literally means “lifted off.” The image was portrayed in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan’s protagonist, Christian, was weighed down by the burden of his sin. When he came to the cross, the sin burden fell from his shoulders, rolled down a hill, and disappeared into an empty tomb.
Unconfessed sin is a burden that weighs us down. When we confess our sin to God, He lifts it off our shoulders, rolls it away, and it disappears.
2. He covers our sin (Ps. 32:1; Rom. 4:7).
This imagery is taken from the Day of Atonement. On this day the high priest took blood from a sacrificial animal, carried it into the Most Holy Place, and sprinkled it on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant (a chest that contained the Ten Commandments). The sprinkled blood symbolically covered the broken law and shielded the sinner from judgment.
It’s significant that when David stopped trying to cover up his sin (v. 5), God “covered” it (v. 1). When something is covered, it’s hidden from view. God puts our sin out of His sight.
3. He does not charge us with iniquity (Ps. 32:2; Rom. 4:8).
This is what God does not do with our sin —He no longer counts our sin against us. “Charge” is a bookkeeping term. This is the imagery Paul used in Romans 4. God charges our sin to Jesus’ ledger (who bore our penalty) and writes Jesus’ righteousness into our ledger and credits us with His righteousness (Rom. 4:8-25).
4. He removes our sins from us (Ps. 103:12; John 1:29).
How far does God remove our sin from us? “As far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12)—an immeasurable distance. East and west will never meet.
5. He washes away our guilt and cleanses us from our sin (Ps. 51:2; Isa. 1:18; 1 John 1:9).
Sin leaves a mark or a stain only God can wipe away. He washes it away “completely” (Ps. 51:2).
6. He throws all our sins behind His back (Isa. 38:17).
In a metaphorical sense, God puts all our sins behind His back so that He does not see them any more.
7. He sweeps away our transgressions (Isa 43:25; 44:22).
Our unconfessed sins hang over us like a dark cloud, but God promises to sweep them away like the rising sin burns away the morning mist (Isa. 44:22)
8. He remembers our sins no more (Isa. 43:25; Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12; 10:16-17).
When God forgives our sins; He forgets them. That means He no longer holds our sins against us.
9. He casts all our sins into the depths of the sea (Mic. 7:18-19).
God casts (hurls) our sins into the sea, where they sink like a stone. Such an act of grace caused Micah to ask, “Who is a God like you …?” (Mic. 7:18).
10. He nailed our sin debt to the cross (Col. 2:14).
God not only erases our sin debt, He destroys the document on which our debt was recorded by nailing it to the cross. We are forgiven because of the cross of Jesus.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Mike Livingstone is a content editor at Lifeway for Explore the Bible resources.