“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances” Colossians 2:13-14, 20
Several passages of Scripture refer to God’s promise to “blot out our transgressions.”
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Isaiah 43:25
Twice in Psalm 51, David prays for the Lord to “blot out” his sins..“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.”Psalm 51:1, 9
The Hebrew word translated “blot out” in Psalm 51 means “to abolish, destroy, erase, or utterly wipe away,” In Psalm 51:1, the appeal to God to blot out sin is based on God’s mercy and “unfailing love.” That request is followed by a prayer that God would “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (verse 2). In verse 9, God’s blotting out of sin is linked to David’s request to “hide thy face from my sins” and “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (verses 9–10).
The picture is that our sin is recorded in a Heavenly book. The bookkeeper is God, and our sins are entered in a ledger in our debit column. Revelation 20:12 presents a similar picture of the great white throne judgment, when “the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” David aware of his sin (Psalm 51:3), pleads with God to erase the record of his sin and cancel his debt. As a sinner, his only hope is that God, in His mercy, will blot out his iniquity.
As Isaiah 43:25 reveals, God is the only one who has the ability to wipe away our spiritual defilement. He is a God who forgives His children: “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” Isaiah 44:22.
For God to refuse to blot out transgression is a severe judgment (Nehemiah 4:5 and Jeremiah 18:23). Although our sins are many, God has mercy. To those who have faith in Jesus the Christ, His Son. God applies the blood of Christ to our sin and cancels the debt we owe Him.
Colossians 2 explains how this happens: “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Colossians 2:13–14
Other translations of Colossians 2:14 bring out the same truth in various ways: “God wiped out the charges” (CEV). “He erased the certificate of debt” (CSB). “Having blotted out the handwriting . . .” (BLB). “He canceled the record of the charges” (NLT).
In Christ, man’s sin has been effaced; no trace of it remains. In ancient times, people hand-wrote deeds, receipts, and bills with reed or quill pens and black ink made of soot, gum, and water. When they made a printing mistake on a document (other than the Scriptures), they might choose to blot it out with ink, rewrite the letter or word correctly, and move on. The mistake had to be covered.
That’s a picture of the “blotting out” of our transgressions. Our sin must be made right if we are to be ultimately fit for God’s presence. The only substance that can cover sin is the blood of God’s own Son. Under the Old Testament Law, God allowed the substitution of bulls, sheep, and goats (Numbers 29:11; Leviticus 6:25; 2 Chronicles 29:24). When their blood was spilled, it symbolized what God intended to do when He sent His Messiah to be the final propitiation for sin (Romans 3:25–26; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). With Jesus’ shed blood, God blots out the transgression of every person who comes to Him in faith (John 3:16–18; Matthew 26:28).
“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Psalm 103:11-13
Those who have had their transgressions blotted out by the blood of Jesus are forgiven and will spend eternity with Him and the Father on Earth.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
Without Christ, however, sins remain a dark stain on the soul, and the fate of the unforgiven is eternity in hell (2 Peter 2:4–10; Luke 12:4–5). No amount of sincerity, religious fervor, or good deeds on the “credit” side of our ledgers can blot out any transgressions. According to scripture, only the blood of the Lamb of God can blot out our transgressions, erase our debits, and make us clean before God (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:13–14).