What Does it Mean That God Will 'Cast All Our Sins into the Depths of the Sea’?
- Meg Bucher Writer and Author
- 2021 17 Feb
“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19
Micah was a prophet sent by God to deliver a message to Israel about judgment for their waywardness. “The purpose of the book is to demonstrate that true faith results in social justice and practical holiness,” Daniel Green explains, “with a view toward the ultimate reign of Messiah on the earth” (Moody). Through Israel was prosperous at the time, it was causing them to become more selfish and morally declined than to seek and worship God. The phrase cast all our sins into the depths of the sea comes at the close of Micah’s message, bringing the compassionate and faithful love of God into focus. Despite their constant rebellion, God doesn’t give up on them. Nor does He give up on us. This rich biblical truth encourages us to continue to acknowledge and confess our sin. God will never give up on us. His love is unending.
Is the Sea of Forgetfulness a Biblical Concept?
“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:17
The sea of forgetfulness descends from Jewish tradition. Daniel Green explains, “The phrase you will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea is the basis for the Jewish custom of Tashlich (which means ‘you will cast’) when Jewish people cast bread into a body of water on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize God’s removal of sin” (Moody). Tashlich, a prayer to cast away sins, occurs during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year and celebration of creation. The tradition spans from emptying pockets full of change into the sea, to a modern tossing of breadcrumbs.
Perhaps nothing can better describe the faithfulness and mercy of God, and the depths of His love to send His only Son to sacrifice once and for all for the forgiveness of our sins. God does not choose to see us in our sinful state. When He looks upon us, He sees the glory of His creation! Made in the image of God, everyone …ALL of us …were specifically and carefully knit in our mother’s womb with a great and unique purpose to bring glory and honor to God. He delights in us! Psalm 139 is full of reminders of the way God feels about us. He cannot be in the presence of unholiness, so in light of our sinfulness, He made a way through Christ for us to come close to Him. “If left to ourselves, our sins will be too hard for us;” Matthew Henry wrote, “but God’s grace shall be sufficient to subdue them, so that they shall not rule us, and then they shall not ruin us.”
It’s by the grace and providential hand of God our sins are cast into the depths of the sea. A sea of forgetfulness is akin to God’s memory of our wrongs. The world continues to live under the curse of sin. We will never fully escape it, nor its effect on our ability to shake sin completely this side of heaven. One step, one confession, one day at a time, we will become more like the person God created us to be. It’s a change God makes in us because long before we breathed our first breath of earthly air, He chose us.
What Does it Mean That God Casts Our Sins into the Depths of the Sea?
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14
Micah was sent to deliver a message of exile to a people who were flourishing financially. As they pat themselves on the back for their provision, Micah warned them of their rebellion against God and reminded them of their covenant with the One True God. “God’s faithfulness to Israel is a reminder for contemporary believers that they should exult in the astoundingly faithful nature of God who watches over them with loving discipline,” Daniel Green explains, “and grants forgiveness freely and fully to those who seek it” (Moody). We often don’t want to be told what to do, especially when things are going well for us. God’s people were not so different than us, dropping to their knees in prayer when in need, and whimsically forgetting the Author of their provision when they experienced abundance and success.
To cast our sins into the depths of the sea is the sanctification of the human heart, a purification made possible through Christ. God, in His love, made a way for us to escape the stronghold of our own stubbornness, if we will only admit to and confess our waywardness. “Christ, by his death and his indwelling Spirit,” John Piper explains, “has put our relationship with God on new footing.” There are no more Old Testament animal sacrifices and extensive rituals required to stand in the presence of God’s holiness. Through Christ, we come to God to be fully forgiven by His grace, and the once for all sacrifice of Jesus as He died willingly on the cross for us.
Christ’s victory through His resurrection and ascension into heaven will never be reversed. Our sins are cast into the depths of the sea. We no longer need to carry the weight of guilt and shame, nor hide from the presence of God. We are free. When we willingly come to God through Jesus, the weight of our sin is lifted …for good. There’s no turning back, no need to revisit past sins or feel remorse for what God has forgiven. We are free to move forward, and one by one, sanctified of our sins until we reach home in heaven. This beautiful picture of God’s love is not what we can accomplish on our own, but that in our weakness He is our strength. His love for us covers our lack and carries us through growth impossible to accomplish on own accord. God has created us in His image. Through Jesus, all life was spoken into existence. His Spirit dwells in every believer. The power of God to cast our sins into the depths of the sea is compelled by His love for us. God’s perfect, immovable love.
How Does God Deal with Our Sin?
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgression from us.” Psalm 103:12
God, alone, has the power to remove sinful strongholds from our lives. He’s given us His word, the Bible, a supernaturally relevant text to guide us and supply wisdom as we seek His will in our lives. Jesus, the Living Word, present with God at the beginning, made a way for us to come to God regardless of our sinfulness. Sans animal sacrifice or religious ritual, Jesus makes is possible for us to come to God as we are. One simple, authentic, confession at a time. “Jesus has already won the decisive victory (Colossians 2:15),” Scott Hubbard explains, “The enemy knows his time is short (Revelations 12:12). The outcome of the battle is not uncertain. God will soon crush every enemy of yours under his feet (Micah 7:19; Romans 16:20).”
David wrote in the Psalms, “search my heart …renew a willing spirit in me.” He knew as we experience, our lack to follow God faithfully on our own accord. God is the one who removes our transgressions, “as far as the east is from the west.” “When God forgives sin, he takes care that it never shall be remembered any more against the sinner,” Matthew Henry wrote, “He casts their sins into the sea; not near the shore-side, where they may appear again, but into the depth of the sea, never to rise again.” The comparison of the depths of the horizon and the depths of the sea aids our understanding of the enormous and all-encompassing love God has for us and reminds us He is powerful! Powerful to cast away what we cannot control when we submit our struggles to Him.
If God Forgets Our Sin Does it Matter How We Act?
“Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” Psalm 19:13
Repentance is just as much of a part of following Christ as confession of sins and submission of our will. The power of God removes and casts away what strangles us, but we must obediently turn from it. “Many a preacher has repeated this memorable saying-“ wrote David Sunday, “but when you’ve failed, it will do you great good to preach it to yourself: When God throws your sin into a sea of forgetfulness, he puts up a sign that says, ‘No fishing allowed.’” We cannot find peace and hope swimming in the depths of the sea or spanning the lengths of the horizon in search of what God has cast out. Instead, we choose to follow Jesus. In turning towards Him, we embrace the divine peace and joy obedience ushers into our souls.
Our enemy seeks to kill, steal and destroy us, the apostle John recorded, but Jesus came so we would have life to the full. The deceitful nature of our enemy and the curse of sin begs us to believe we cannot fully release our transgressions into the hands of God for good. The temptation to look back and revisit the guilt and shame over past mistakes and seasons of rebellion and disobedience is a ploy to deceitfully distract us. It’s an outright lie. “When God takes away sin’s suit so that it does not condemn us,” the NIV Study Bible notes explain, “he also takes away its power so that it does not rule over us.” Life within the love of Christ lends us the power to turn away from the past sins that threaten to haunt us and to cast our gaze instead to God’s unimaginable plans for us.
A Prayer to Break Free from Strongholds of Sin
You, alone, are good. You, alone, are just and merciful. The depths of Your love for us are incredible and pure, oh God. Great is Your faithfulness. Everyday, Your mercies are new. So great is Your love for us, You sent Your one and only Son, Jesus, to die sacrificially for us, to make forgiveness for our sins possible. Jesus, You died willingly for us, to bring glory to God the Father. Holy Spirit, You dwell in us, faithfully counseling and comforting us.
Glory to the One True, Triune, God! Thank You for salvation and mercy, love, and grace. Forgive us of the transgression we submit to You today. Search our hearts. Renew, restore, and cleanse us from our sin. Give us a willing spirit, Father, to discern Your will for our lives and follow You, Jesus, obediently and servant-heartedly. May our lives bring glory and honor to You. Cast our sins into the depths of the sea, Father God. Abba, Yahweh, Creator of every fiber that makes up who You purposed us to be. You set us in our generation purposefully, and place others around us to encourage, and be an encouragement to us. Let us run the race You set before us with perseverance, donning Your armor, daily.
Free us from the stronghold of our minds, threatening to revisit past sins and cover us with guilt and shame You have already released from our lives. Remind us, our past sins sank into the sea of forgetfulness. We are a new creation in Christ, and we live within His love. Bless our lives with the full peace of Christ.
In Jesus’ Name,
Jesus, the Living Word of God, used parables and metaphors when He preached to His disciples on earth. God spoke through those who divinely penned the Old Testament in the same way. In verses like Micah 7:19, we realize the depths of God’s love for us by the visual image he wrote of so long ago. The relevant Word of God will always apply to our everyday circumstances when we are diligent and faithful to pray for the Spirit’s wisdom upon our digestion of it. Micah’s prose is further proof of Jesus' presence amidst the full scope of the Bible. The Living Word of God, the one who once for all cast our sins into the depths of the sea by His sacrifice on the cross. This Old Testament verse beautifully spotlights the grace and forgiveness we embrace in Christ.
NIV Study Bible, Copyright © 1985, 1995, 2002, 2008, 2011 by Zondervan.
The Moody Bible Commentary. Copyright 2014.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Alexmumu
Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Join her on the journey as she launches her new site Joy Overflowing, or join her longstanding community at Sunny&80. She is also the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Media since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team. Always active in her community and the local church, Meg also leads Bible study and serves as a leader for teen girls.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
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