Summary: God chooses to forgive us
27The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. 28And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD. 29In those days they shall no longer say: “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
30But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge. 31The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989
God says a lot in His “Book” about forgiveness. It’s taught in a variety of ways; it’s also abused in a number of creative ways to suit what we really want. Just a quick search on my computer’s Bible software brought up over one-hundred references to forgiveness. In the Jeremiah text (verse 34) God not only promises to forgive, he says he will remember no more; God promised Israel that He would forgive AND forget!
A pastor’s son and his mom had been to a shopping mall and the boy had acted badly, wanting this and that, running off, etc. As they were driving home, he could sense her displeasure and said, “When we ask God to forgive us when we are bad, He does, doesn’t He?” His mother replied, “Yes, He does.” The boy continued, “And when he forgives us, He buries our sins in the deepest sea, doesn’t He?” The mom replied, “Yes, that’s what the Bible says.” The boy was silent for awhile and then said, “I’ve asked God to forgive me, but I bet when we get home, you’re going to go fishing for those sins, aren’t you?”
There are two very different kinds of forgiveness – that of God, and that of humans; according to Scripture we need both. However as we are well into the second decade of the 21st century, there is a “forgiveness disconnect” in our culture. It seems nobody needs forgiveness, because we’ve come to the conclusion that our personal behavior is now a subjective issue; there are no absolutes in the arena of right and wrong. There is no all-encompassing standard for measuring behavior, except as each person measures it in his own life.
The self-help book “I’m OK – You’re OK” was first published by Dr. Thomas Harris in 1969. Three years later it topped the NY Times best seller list for over two years. It’s a self-help book that espouses the Gestalt, non-judgmental, very politically-correct sentiment: “I am not in this world to please you, and you’re not in this world to please me, but if, by chance, we meet…it’s beautiful”. In other words – there is nothing to forgive….we don’t need it; I don’t care what you think, and you shouldn’t care what I think.
The most popular “look through the keyhole” at life and philosophy in 2010 America is that WE ARE BASICALLY VERY GOOD, AND SIN IS ONLY A WORD THE FANATICS USE. The prevailing message that our children receive educationally is that, with our technology and man’s inherent ingenuity, we have the ability to overcome any obstacle by sheer willpower and human brilliance! The short version is:
MAN HAS ASCENDED THE THRONE; WE ARE GOD!
Swallowing this concept (hook-line-and-sinker) are even good people who’ve bought-into the idea that being good citizens and being nice enough to even populate the pews of local churches on a regular basis is an outgrowth of their own moral goodness. Somehow God has been relegated to a position of co-pilot in our lives – a sort of partner in our goodness. Certainly he knows our hearts and the whole spectrum of how we really are wonderful, and he is most pleased to have our attention occasionally – even if he doesn’t have our undivided attention.