Trash has become a problem for America.
The average American generates four pounds of solid trash per day, for a grand total of 1460 pounds per year. Although Americans represent roughly 5 percent of the world’s population, we generate 40 percent of its waste.
Landfills are full and incinerators pollute the environment. Industrial waste and medical refuse spread disease. Houses are cluttered with old stuff that “we might have a use for sometime,” old appliances deface property, and residents are saddled with rising waste service fees and surcharges.
Does heaven have this problem? What does God do with His trash? The only “trash” we read of God having is the sins He removes from human souls. What does God do with this “trash”?
He buries it.
Landfills are a popular way of getting rid of our trash, and so it is with God’s trash. David wrote, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Psalm 32:1
; Psalm 85:2
; Romans 4:6-8
). Covered means “completely covered over,” as pitch covered Noah’s ark (Genesis 6:14
He casts it into the depths of the sea.
Though better regulated now, at times great amounts of trash have been taken out into the sea and dumped. The Pacific Ocean is actually the world’s largest “landfill.” The Eastern Garbage Patch, which floats between Hawaii and California, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.
God uses “the ocean” as a dumping ground for a more “environmentally friendly” kind of waste disposal. He casts our forgiven sins there. “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19
Two thirds of the earth’s surface is water, and the deepest places on earth are beneath it. Most of it remains unexplored—never even visited by humans. Millions of varieties of plants and animals are thought to be yet undiscovered in its depths. So if you wanted to hide something, the best place on the third rock from the sun would
be in the ocean.
This is the figure God chose to use to communicate to us how lost our sins become once they are forgiven. Bible commentators draw a comparison between this and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. Not a single Egyptian soldier survived when God cast them into “the depths of the sea;” so no sin can survive this plunging (Exodus 15:9-10
Sins are not simply cast into the sea, but into the depths of the sea. If they were carelessly tossed from the shore, they might wash back up to be seen again. Or they might be visible at low tide. There is no chance of that happening in this case. They are forever buried at such a depth they can never be discovered. Corrie ten Boom was known to say that God put our sins in the deepest sea and then put up a sign that said, “No Fishing.” There is no fishing for our own sins, nor any for the sins of others.
We often use the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” because we tend to forget things we can’t see. For instance, have you ever forgotten to pay a bill because it got mixed in a stack of mail and you forgot it was due? An omniscient God never forgets anything—unless He does so on purpose. He purposely conceals our sins so they are not remembered. What a comforting thought!
When our sins are forgiven, they are forgotten. The past is gone, dead, crucified, remembered no more. What God forgives, He forgets.
He exports it.
Some trash has been exported to poor countries, who either felt they could salvage something from it or felt the price they were paid was worth it. God exports our sins. He removes them from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12
). It is interesting that God did not use the similar figure of “as far is the north is from the south” because you can only go so far north and then you must go south. Therefore, the distance from the North Pole to South Pole is a specific distance—12,403 miles. But when will east meet west? It never will, because you can go east for the rest of your life and never start to go west. How far is it from east to west? It is infinite. That is how far God removes our sins from us!
He obliterates it.
Some types of rubbish (military munitions, for instance) are destroyed by exploding them. They are obliterated. You could say that God obliterates our sins. They are erased from His memory forever (Jeremiah 31:34
; Hebrews 8:12
; Hebrews 10:17
). One man complained to his coworker about a fight he had with his wife the night before. “She got really worked up. I mean eventually she got historical.”
His friend laughed and said, “You mean she got hysterical.”
“No, she got historical. She brought up every mistake I have made in the last ten years of our marriage.”
That is the way we sometimes “forgive.” We keep a mental record of offenses and bring them up again later. But God is not like that. Forgiven sin has no “history.” It is forever gone. Jesus came to “make an end of sins” and to bring in “everlasting righteousness” (Daniel 9:24
Our sins are expunged from our official file (Isaiah 44:22
), when we obey His Gospel by believing in Jesus (John 3:16
), repenting of sin (Luke 13:3
), confessing Christ (Matthew 10:32
), and being baptized for remission of sins (Acts 2:38
). Since they are erased, they cannot be imputed (Psalm 32:2
; Romans 4:7-8
; 2 Corinthians 5:19
). That is, God does not reckon this sin against us. The word “impute” is a mathematical or bookkeeping term. God keeps a record of our debts (sins); but, in forgiving them, He no longer keeps up with it. The ledger has a zero balance (Ezekiel 18:22
; Ezekiel 33:16
Rest easy, God has heaven’s trash under control.