As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
When David wrote Psalm 103, nobody knew the shape of the earth. Around the fourth century B.C., thinkers like Aristotle concluded the earth was round. Those in David’s day only knew there was a north, south, east, and west—and that those points disappeared over the horizon, farther than the eye could see. So his metaphor in Psalm 103:12 is a good one: God moves our transgressions so far from us that they disappear over the horizon—they are no longer visible to us.
Based on what we now know about the earth being round, David’s metaphor is even more profound. If you begin walking east, you will never hit west; if you begin walking west, you will never hit east because of the earth being a globe. So the distance between east and west is incalculable. God doesn’t just remove our sins beyond the horizon, out of our sight; He moves them an infinite distance from us. He does that based on the infinite value of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins.
If you are still haunted by sins you know God has forgiven, think of them the way David did: out of sight, out of mind, never to be seen again.
In these days of guilt complexes, perhaps the most glorious word in the English language is “forgiveness.”