I’m no exploration buff. Can’t say I’m particularly well read (or even read, at all) when it comes to boldly going where no man has gone before. Instead, what I think I know, I know from the media. My sense of “where we’ve been” and “what we know” comes more in sound bites and brief news stories. But if I’ve been tracking anywhere near accurately, then I think it’s a correct statement to say that we know as much, if not more, about deep space than we do about the deep sea.
My sense is that it has been easier, or at least we’ve been more focused toward, launching things far into space than we’ve been able to explore the bottom of our oceans. You’d think, given that oceans are here on earth and other galaxies are not, that with all we’ve been able to see of other galaxies, that we must have nailed the ocean thing and discovered and observed all there is to discover and observe. But again, if I’m keeping tabs correctly, that’s not the case. Apparently, there’s still a lot we haven’t seen at the bottom of the ocean. It’s not so easy to get to the depths of the sea.
Which is probably why something I’m chewing on in Micah this morning tastes so sweet.
Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:18-19 ESV)
The depths of the sea! That’s where my sins are. Essentially beyond reach. Effectively so far out of sight they’re gone. Eternally cast away so that if east could meet west then they could be retrieved. That’s how our God rolls!
Pardoning iniquity. Passing over transgression. Delighting in steadfast love. His just anger over sin giving way to His even greater compassion for sinners. So that He provides for the sins which separate us from our God to be trod under foot. He purposes to make a way for iniquities to be cast into the depths of the sea.
What was it like for Micah to receive and record his revelation? To go from prophesying about the terrible wrath Israel deserved for their spiritual adultery to promising that God would show “faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham” as He had sworn to them from days of old (7:20)? To call out their wretched wickedness yet also foretell of rescue and redemption? How could both be possible? How could God be just and yet be their justifier?
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.
(Romans 3:21-22 ESV)
Paul says that all have sinned, that all fall short, but that all can be justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ (Rom. 3:23-26). That the Babe in the manger we look upon at this time of year was born to be a propitiation, an atoning sacrifice, for our transgression against a holy God and against those created to bear His image. That His finished work on the cross tunneled an expressway to the depths of the sea as a transport for sin, accessible to all by faith.
If our sin had been cast into the heavens, there’s a good chance someone would be taking pictures of it with Hubble or some exploratory satellite. Instead, when we confess our sin–past, present, and future–He is faithful to remove our sin and cast it into the depths of the sea. Never to be seen again. Never to be brought up again. Forever removed through the finished work of Christ on the cross.
Praise God that He has called us to look deep into the heavens which declare His glory (Ps. 19:1), but has put the depths of the seas beyond our reach as a reminder of how fully He has dealt with our sin problem.
O what a Savior!
O come let us adore Him!
Because of grace. For His glory.