Our Incomparable Lord

Bible Book: Micah  7 : 18-20
Subject: Forgiveness; Sin; Pardon

Turn with me in your Bible today and follow as I read Micah 7:18-20. We are looking this morning at Our Incomparable Lord.

Micah 7:18-20:
“18 Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our[a] sins
into the depths of the sea.
20 You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old.”

In verse 18 of Micah chapter 7, the prophet breaks into prayer. Note that he addresses the Lord with a question, "Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?" Then in the middle of verse 18 through the remainder of the chapter, He extols the matchless nature of the Lord, writing, "You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. You will be true to Jacob, and show mercy to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our fathers in days long ago."

Micah closes his wonderful prophetic book magnifying our incomparable Lord. The basic message of Micah in these closing lines is God's loving, forgiving, compassionate nature. In essence, Micah is astonished by the grace of God.

Someone once said, “Only a man who asks, ‘Who is a sinner like me?’ will also ask, ‘Who is a God like Thee?’”

The people of Micah's day worshipped gods of wine, sea, love, war, sun, moon, and others, but only Yahweh, the true God, forgave sin! The prophets spoke during days of judgment or impending judgment, but never does God’s judgment or anger outweigh or surpass His incomparable love and mercy.

Today we shall consider two truths which Micah has given to us about Our Incomparable Lord. Micah points out important elements of sin and sin's removal. First let us consider…

I. The Problem of Sin

The human family has a serious problem and that problem is sin. There is no problem or failure in the human family greater than our sin problem. All our other problems stem from that one failure.

A soldier was dying on the battle field and a chaplain came along and knelt down beside him. The chaplain asked if there was anything he might do for the dying soldier. The soldier replied, "Chaplain, I don't need anything done, I need some things undone." Don't we all need that! We all need some things undone - we need some sins forgiven! We need some transgressions removed.

Note with me that the sin problem of mankind has two parts.

A. The Problem of our Conduct

Micah describes human wrong-doing using three special words which describe our impurity. I want to share them with you in English and Hebrew, for looking at them in Hebrew draws forth the deeper meaning of all that God prompted Micah to write on this issue.

Note first…

1. Sin

`avon or `avown (2 Kings 7:9, Psa. 51:5 [7])-perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity a) iniquity b) guilt of iniquity, guilt (as great), guilt (of condition) c) consequence of or punishment for iniquity.

This word speaks of the perverse, depraved nature of human beings. It call us guilty before God. Oh, sure, the world may deny guilt, but God calls the behavior “sin,” and what He calls it, that is what it is. It is a depravity in the soul of man.

2. Transgression

pesha` (peh'-shah);from 6586; a revolt (national, moral or religious): KJV-- rebellion, sin, transgression, trespass.

Also, Micah uses the word “pasha,” which speaks of transgression. We are sinners because we have a sinful, depraved nature in us, but we transgress because we desire to revolt against that which we know we ought to do. Tell a child not to touch something, and the moment you turn your back, he or she will touch it. There is transgression in our souls against all law, but that is especially true when it comes to transgressing against God’s Law.

3. Iniquity

chatta'ah (khat-taw-aw');or chatta'th (khat-tawth'); from 2398; an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender: KJV-- punishment (of sin), purifying (-fication for sin), sin (-ner, offering).

Thirdly, we see the word which speaks of “iniquity.” This word speaks of offence against the One giving the Law. We not only sin against the Law, we sin against the Lord who gave it. Iniquity is the act of being hateful toward the Law-giver.

B. The Problem of our Conscience

Micah states openly and readily the fact of "our sins." This reveals that he knew he was a sinner and he knew his generation was sinful. Sadly, we live in a day when the human conscience has been seared. Conviction for sin is necessary for sin to be forgiven, yet there are many in our day who do not sense guilt for sin, or at least they will not admit it if they do.

Perhaps you have seen the Guilt Free products for sale at the grocery store. They are light in fats and sugar, so the seller is offering them to you so you can eat them without feeling guilty. There are many people today who want a guilt-free life before God. Although it is impossible to live guilt free before God, one can lie to himself and try to convince himself that he is not sinful. No matter how much you lie to yourself, I can assure you that you have sinned. We very much need today a return to the sensitive conscience in the human heart. I will tell you this, be sure your sin will find you out eventually. If you don’t deal with it now before God, He will deal with you one day in the future!

Some years ago I read a story, thought I don’t remember the source, of a reporter who wanted to get a great story about a fire that had broken out in the Tribune Building of Minneapolis. The reported moved up to the second floor and began to report on live radio the danger and nature of the fire. He told how flames were beginning to reach the second floor. He described that he was moving to the third floor of the building, and he continued going up floor after floor doing his report on the radio. Finally, on the seventh floor of the building, He realized that he had to find a way to get out of the burning building. He climbed on a ledge and grabbed a wire that was suspended high above the street between the burning building and another building across the way. He hung from the wire and began moving hand-over-hand toward safety. About half way over to the other building, he grew tired. He stopped for a moment as people held their collective breath. Finally, one hand came loose and then he let go with the other hand. He fell screaming into the street and died instantly!

He wanted to get a good story but he ended up in the morgue. Friends, some people just want to have a good time. They claim that they mean no harm with their sin. But unless one turns to Christ in time, there is a great fall coming!

II. The Purity from Sin

Micah describes vividly the purity we can know because there is a solution for our sin problem. Some of the most beautiful stories in the Bible surround the forgiveness of sin.

Think of the story of the Prodigal Son.

Remember Simon Peter after he had denied Christ - how Christ forgave him.

Recall the woman who broke the Alabaster Box of Perfume of Jesus. Jesus said, "Her sins, which were many, are forgiven her."

Who can forget the dying thief who cried out, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom," and how Jesus responded, "This day you will be with me in paradise."

Look with me at the forgiveness available for our sin…

A. The Portrayal of our Forgiveness
1. He Pardons (He Lifts It)

'NASA' (naw-saw'); or nacah (Psalm 4 6 [7]) (naw-saw'); a primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literal and figurative, absol. and rel. (as follows): KJV-- accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armor], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away).

We see forgiveness in the word “pardon” because that word in Hebrew means “to bear away, to carry off, to remove.” The forgiven no longer carry any weight or responsibility before God for their sins. When God forgives, He carries you sins as far from you as the east is from the west.

2. He Forgives (He Deflects It)

"Awbar" is Hebrew. In KJV it states, "Passes by."

To “forgive” literally means that God deflects the ongoing judgment of your transgression.

Sin makes you a target for a divine missile but forgiveness causes the Lord to step in front of the missile and deflect it – or if you please, He accepts it in Himself, for that is what He did at Calvary.

You remember Superman and how he deflected bullets from hitting people in the movies, comics or old television programs. What God does for the sinner is no make-believe. The sinner is already under condemnation and is the target of coming judgment, but thanks be to God, when we repent, He forgives. He took the missile of judgment for us in His Son on the cross!

3. He Tramples (He Subdues It)

Tramples is from the Hebrew word "kabash,” which means to bring into bondage, to subdue.

He keeps sin from overtaking us again. Here is a word which speaks of our eternal security in Christ. He will not let sin rise up against us again. Sin is down for the ten count and the fight is over once a person has turned in repentance and faith to the Lord Jesus Christ!

4. He Casts (He Throws It Down)

"shalak” - to throw, to cast, to hurl, to fling a) (Hiphil) 1) to throw, to cast, to throw away, to cast off, to shed, to cast down 2) to cast (lots) (figurative) b) (Hophal) 1) to be thrown, to be cast 2) to be cast forth or out 3) to be cast down 4) to be cast metaphorical).

Here we note that God casts our sins, ALL our sins, into the DEPTH of the sea. The idea here is that the sins can never be brought up against us! Are you worried about facing your sins at the judgment? In Christ that is wholly unnecessary. Look at the Book of Revelation and note that there is "no more sea" in heaven! Your sins are cast into it and then it is destroyed. Someone once said, "God casts your sins into the sea and then He places a "No Fishing" on the shoreline. Actually, but He does better than that. He casts them into the sea and then destroys the sea into which he cast them! Glory to His name forever!

B. The Prompting of our Forgiveness
1. The Mercy of God
2. The Compassion of God

It is not our goodness that brings God to forgive us. It is His mercy and compassion, both of which are ingredients of His grace and love.

C. The Promise of our Forgiveness

The Lord has given His Word! He pledged long ago to show mercy to all who would believe. Remember, Abraham was not saved by works but by grace through faith. Note that God showed MERCY to Abraham. He will do the same for you. And believe me, if Abraham, the Father of the Jews, needed mercy, so do you and so do I!

Some people may think they cannot outrun the judgment of God. A Spaniard committed a murder at a castle many years ago and he jumped upon a horse and rode wildly into the night. He rode for hours to escape. Finally, exhausted, but He lay down to sleep for a couple of hours. When he awoke it was daybreak and opened his eyes, but He looked up to see the castle he had fled the night before. He had ridden in circles all night long. "Be sure your sin will find you out." You cannot run and you cannot hide, but you can be forgiven!

There is no way for us to pay our own debt for our sins:

1. That would be like a bankrupt man trying to pay his own debts.

2. It would be like a bleeding man trying to give himself a transfusion.

3. It would be like a blind man trying to lead the blind.

Our God will forgive. He forgives freely, graciously, promptly, perfectly, effectually, lovingly, eternally! No one pardons at such great expense, no one pardons as many crimes, no one pardons as many people, no one pardons and then forgets what he has pardoned, no one pardons past, present and future, and no one pardons and then justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies – no one but our Lord.

He is our Incomparable Lord!

1. He takes the rope off your neck.

2. He takes you off the scaffold.

3. Sin is a debt, but He pays it.

4. Sin is an estrangement, but He reconciles it.

5. Sin is a crime, but He forgives it.

6. Sin is pollution, but He cleanses it.

7. Sin is a disease, but He heals it.

8. Sin is an obstruction, but He opens it.

9. Sin is a mark, but He removes it!

10. Sin is a death sentence, but He paid it with His own life at the cross!

He is our Incomparable Lord!

In fact, He not only forgives, but He justifies! He gives us a status higher than that of innocence. We are more than conquerors through Christ our Lord!

He is our Incomparable Lord


The songwriter penned:

"I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,

And wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean."

No wonder we can say without equivocation, He is our INCOMPARABLE LORD!