21 Jan 2013 An act of love
by Marilyn Mathis
It was during one summer, a very hot Arkansas summer, when I had pulled off the interstate onto Oak Street in Conway and gotten behind a sanitation department truck, a truck we used to call a “garbage truck.”
These old trucks had two men who rode on the back and picked up garbage cans and emptied them into the back. Then the truck had something that would come down and shovel that garbage into the back of the truck. The trucks were dirty, ugly and very smelly. I was looking into the back of this truck and could see the dirt and ugly interior. I knew that if I had my window down I would smell the stench from the garbage, but I had the windows up and the AC on full blast.
Today the trucks have an arm that reaches down and picks up the containers and empties them into the back. The men on the bumper have been eliminated, but not the great service. As a community we are blessed by these workers. Our city would be a stinky mess without their daily work. They come to our homes and pick up our unwanted, smelly trash and garbage. They carry it off and dispose of it, and we never see it again. We do have to pay a fee for this service, but it is well worth the cost.
Now as I was driving down the street behind this garbage truck, I began to think about what Jesus did for me on the cross. He died for my sin — my garbage. The Bible says, “We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It also tells us that we cannot wash away our own sin. I can never be good enough to satisfy God, the Father, for my sin. Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to pay the “fee” for my garbage. When I place my faith in Him and His finished work on the cross, He takes my sin on Himself and gives me His righteousness.
“He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin, to be made sin on my behalf, that I might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
WHAT DOES GOD DO WITH OUR SIN/GARBAGE?
He takes them away (John 1:29).
They are removed an immeasurable distance — as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:14).
The Lord forgives them (Ephesians 1:7).
He cleanses them ALL away by the blood of His Son (1 John 1:7).
He cleanses them as white as snow or wool (Isaiah 1:18).
He abundantly pardons them (Isaiah 55:7).
He remembers them no more (Hebrews 10:17).
He casts them into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19), and He puts up a “No Fishing” sign.
He blots them out (Isaiah 43:25).
He covers them (Romans 4:7).
Just like the men that pick up our earthly garbage and remove it so we never see it again, Jesus removes our sin so we never see it again.
Psalm 32:1-2 says, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute inequity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
The psalmist uses three different Hebrew words to express sin — transgression, sin and inequity — and three different words or phrases to express forgiveness — forgiven, covered and does not impute. By using these different words, the psalmist is making it clear that ALL sin can be removed by the LORD.
I found in studying these words that the word “forgiven” in the Hebrew means to “carry off” — our sin is taken away like garbage.
Our garbage is collected every week, but once for all time Jesus paid the price for our sin, and when He removes it — it is gone forever! Jesus is the world’s garbage collector!
Praise Him for His awesome act of love on our behalf!
A Conway resident, Marilyn Mathis is a wife, mother, Nana and teaching leader for First Wednesday Lunch Break. Readers can reach her at [email protected].