Summary: Have you ever embarked upon the enormous task of contemplating all of your past sins? It is inevitable; overwhelmed by the amount of forgiveness God has bestowed upon us we begin to thank him for forgiving us of all our past sins. Maybe you have even
Proclaiming His Majesty Series 2006
Sheryl and I are coming up on our tenth wedding anniversary and naturally after being together for that amount of time you eventually get around to playing the "Remember when" game. "Remember the time. . ."
Have you ever embarked upon the enormous task of contemplating all of your past sins? It is inevitable; overwhelmed by the amount of forgiveness God has bestowed upon us we begin to thank him for forgiving us of all our past sins.
Maybe you have even played the "remember when" game with God. "Remember the time I. . ." It only seems natural to us but something is wrong with playing this game with God. Not that asking the question of him will put your soul in jeopardy but that when it comes to remembering in this way God has a certain "flaw." This "flaw" however, is a self-imposed one.
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:10).
FORGIVE AND FORGET
God does not just forgive he forgets. He erases the board. He wipes the slate clean. He does what is impossible for us to do, he forgets. Humans see forgetfulness as a flaw, something that comes as part of getting older or that plagues us in our teenage years.
God does not remember my mistakes. For all of the things that God does do, this is one thing he refuses to do. A self-imposed "flaw," if you will. He refuses to keep a list of our wrongs. When I ask God for forgiveness he doesn’t pull out his Palm Pilot and say, "Now, I’ve already forgiven you for that six hundred twenty-two times." As far as God is concerned, it is my first time. He doesn’t remember.
"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12).
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness" (Hebrews 8:10a).
“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
God does not remember. However, I do, you do. You still remember. You are like me. You still remember what you did before you changed. Deep in your heart, yesterday’s sins lie in wait. Sin’s you’ve confessed; things for which you have repented.
That time you exploded in anger. The day you were needed, but didn’t respond. That date, with that girl/guy. That jealousy. That night "just one beer" turned into one too many.
"Am I really forgiven," we contemplate. "Sure, God forgets most of our mistakes but do you really think he could actually forget the time I . . ."
As a result, your spiritual walk has a slight limp. Sure, you’re still faithful. You do the right things and say the right words but just when you begin to make strides, the skeletons come rushing from the closet. You begin to question yourself and even your motives.
"Surely you are not going to try to teach a bible class with all that you have done." "Ask someone to come to church? Most of my friends know how I used to live and those times I’ve fell away."
Seeds of doubt, grains of guilt. . .
Where do you think all of this comes from? Do you think God places all of these thoughts in your head? Was God just teasing when he said, "their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more?” Was God exaggerating when he said he would cast our sins as far as the east is from the west? Do you actually believe that he could make these statements and then rub our noses in them whenever we ask for help?
Of course not! We just need an occasional reminder of God’s nature, his forgetful nature, his "flaw."
It is against human nature to grow wings and fly, it’s against God’s nature to remember forgiven sins.
Either God is the God of perfect grace . . . or he is not God. God forgets, period. Perfect love cannot hold grudges. If he does, then it isn’t perfect love. If God isn’t perfect love then you might as well get up and walk out right now!
I believe in God’s loving forgetfulness. I believe God has a graciously terrible memory.
If God didn’t forget, how could we pray? How could we sing to him? How could we dare enter his presence if the moment he saw us he remembered all our pitiful past? How could we enter his throne room wearing the rags of selfishness and pride? The answer is WE CANT!
Listen to this message from Paul to the Christians at Galatia. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).