From January 16, 1967
CIENTISTS HAVE bugged our trembling earth with a new ocean-bottom seismograph,” reports the Associated Press. This novel underwater “ear” already has recorded shocks which have rattled parts of the United States, thereby racking up another scientific “first.”
Technicians installed the unmanned seismograph about one hundred miles offshore in the Pacific and two miles below the surface of the sea. A cable connects the device to its station at Point Arena, California. The seismograph is a modification of a projected space seismograph which scientists hope will be listening for moonquakes someday soon.
The underwater ear heard its first real rumbling when an earthquake shook the Seattle-Tacoma area in Washington one spring morning at about 8:30 a.m. Two minutes and twenty-two seconds later the seismograph recorded the tremor-the delay representing the time it took the shocks to travel underground from their point of origin to the station at sea.
Along with affording additional means of recording earthquakes, the underwater instrument is expected to provide new data to enable scientists to detect the difference between nuclear explosion shocks and those of ordinary earthquakes as recorded from land masses. Scientists thus hope to check up on men as well as on nature by this novel installation.
While technicians have contrived underwater earthquake detectors, no inventor ever will install an underwater “sin detector.”
You might retort that a sin detector is not needed, for all one has to do to detect sin is to open his eyes and watch affairs around about. Certainly sin is universal on earth. No one seriously contradicts the divine indictment, “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23). Jacob Chamberlain came back from India after many years of missionary service and announced, “I only met one man in all India who denied he was a sinner.” This particular Brahmin, a member of the highest caste of Hindus, interrupted a sermon Chamberlain was preaching concerning the universal sinfulness of all mankind. “I deny your promise,” shouted the Indian. “I have never sinned.” “What do you neighbors say?” the missionary inquired. Some of them were present. “He defrauded a widow of her inheritance,” one exclaimed; and others added additional accusations. The Brahmin withdrew in disgrace. Certainly “all have sinned.” Extraordinary insight is not needed to spot a sinner or detect depravity.
Yet there are countless sins which only an underwater “sin detector,” so to speak, could bring to light! My many sins, for example. Yours too, if you share my position in Christ.
What does the Bible say?
The prophet Micah, writing over seven centuries before Christ, anticipated the Saviour’s atonement and exulted concerning the people of God, “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). Indeed, the immediate context furnishes a thrilling revelation of our pardoning God: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us: he will subdue our iniquities … ” (Micah 7:18, 19). The prophet proclaims, before climaxing the revelation with the exclamation, “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” What rapturous relief it is to penitent sinners to realize that the river of their Redeemer’s blood not only cleanses them personally from all sin but also carries the guilt to oblivion in the sea of divine forgetfulness. God spoke through Isaiah, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins ” (Isaiah 43:25).
Notice how much sin Christ’s blood cleanses away: “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Observe how much guilt God removes to the oceans: “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” In both cases the adjective all indicates total deliverance. God deals with all your sins or He does not deliver you from any of them! He offers no partial pardon. Salvation from all your sins except one would prove insufficient to deliver anyone from damnation. The blood cleanses all. The seas cover all. God provides not only free salvation but full salvation. He casts all our sins into the seas!
Indeed, into the depths of the sea!
Some objects cast into the sea are washed up again on shore. I have seen glass fishnet weights lost off the coasts of Japan which turned up on Pacific Coast beaches. Often bottles containing written messages are tossed overboard from ships at sea, to be carried by the currents to distant shores. But there is no danger that the sins of believers will float again to the surface! For God has cast them into the depths! Moffatt translates Micah’s proclamation, “Thou wilt sink all our sins deep in the sea. ”
You are familiar with the increasing pressures as divers descend deeper into the oceans. If a bottle or weight which floats atop the sea’s surface is carried down a few feet and released, it will rise again to the surface. But if you take it down deep enough and release it, it will never return! Why? The weight of the water pressure is greater than the floating power of the object. The pressure will keep the object underwater indefinitely.
“Sin will reappear,” they say. And certainly sin seems capable of doing just that. But the pressure of the grace of God is infinite. At the deepest place in earth’s oceans scientists estimate the pressure at seven tons per square inch. In the ocean of God’s pardon the pressure is adequate to keep pardoned sins buried forever! “And the devil can’t build a submarine that will go deep enough,” said Al Salter, “to bring those sins back up again.”
Martin Luther dreamed that Satan confronted him with a long list of his personal sins. One by one the devil read the accusations and inquired whether the indictments were correct. To each charge Luther had to plead guilty. Then the devil finished the list and claimed Luther as his prey. “There is one thing more,” Martin Luther objected. “You left out something.”
“All your sins are listed here,” Satan contradicted, reviewing the record. “Yes, all my sins,” mused the Reformer. “But I am sure if you read further, you will see written, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanseth … [Luther] from all sin’ (1 John 1:7).”
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Because God has destroyed the evidence! He has cleansed the guilt. He has sunk the believer’s sins into the depths of the seas. No underwater “sin detector” has yet been invented, nor will it ever be. God has drowned our guilt in oblivion. And He invites all to participate in these redemptive benefits, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Has God sent your sins on a trip to the sea-with a one-way ticket?