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To Infinity and Beyond

Even if you haven’t seen Toy Story, it’s likely that you are familiar with Bud Lightyear’s iconic declaration, “To infinity and beyond!” It offers a sense of boundless exploration and adventure. It encapsulates the spirit of curiosity and the desire to push beyond known limits. It is a fantastical statement that calls us to see beyond the boundaries of time and space.


Infinity is defined as: unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity; boundlessness. Therefore, nothing and everything is beyond infinity as infinity is undefinable by words or experience. Knowing that the sun is 93 million miles away, while unfathomable, makes it comprehensible; however, I cannot fully comprehend infinity because it lacks a quantifiable measurement.


Oasis Books has a map showing how Alaska stretches from Jacksonville, FL to San Francisco, CA when overlaid on the US. I was struck by the sheer size of Alaska when drove I the AlCan highway moving my daughter from Logan to Anchorage. It took me as long to drive to Anchorage as it would take to drive from Seattle to Miami. Not quite infinity unless you are driving 5 thirteen hour days with a meowing cat!


These things came to mind as I considered the infinite gift of forgiveness that Christ purchased for us. While we may want to quantify forgiveness into a measurable transaction, God’s forgiveness of sinners is better stated in the image of infinity. David expresses this thought in a promise in Psalm 103, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (12)


As far as the east is from the west is a greater distance than Logan to Anchorage; it’s even further than from here to the sun. The fact that east and west can never meet offers an apt description of the Lord’s infinite forgiveness. How? The Psalm gives us the answer.


The Psalm opens by praising the Lord for what He’s done for us saying, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:2–5)


David praises the Lord for what He has done; how He forgives sins and redeems from death. He further says, “The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.” (8–10)


In spite of our sin, the Lord does not deal with us as we deserve. Why not? Why is He compassionate and merciful towards sinners like us? According to David, the reason that the Lord doesn’t treat us as we deserve is because of His infinite love for us, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (11–12)


Without understand the mind-boggling distance from the earth to the stars, David knew that God's love for His people stretched even further. His love for us extends to infinity and beyond. It is His great love for us that allows Him to cast our sins away from His presence so that they are as far as the east is from the west.


Paul uses similar imagery in his letter to the Romans saying that when we’re saved, sin no longer has power over us having been put to death by being nailed to the cross with Christ, “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:6–8)


Our sin is removed, put to death, and cast from God’s presence when we trust in Christ alone for our salvation. Paul expresses God's infinite love for us saying, “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) To infinity and beyond aptly expresses both the Lord’s love and forgiveness for us.



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