Summary: God has forgotten the sin of those whom He has forgiven.
“I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
“The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.”
Her name was Dorothy. When Lynda and I first began our walk in the Faith, Dorothy and Ben, her husband encouraged us in the Faith. On several occasions, Dorothy told of her struggles in her early Christian walk. She knew she had been a terrible sinner, but she had heard of the grace of God in Christ the Lord and received Him as Master over her life.
However, faith that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died because of her sin brought her little peace. She worried that perhaps her sins were too great, or that she was unworthy of such mercy, or that perhaps her sins weren’t truly forgiven. It didn’t help that about her were friends and family members who held that a person could be condemned after being saved. Well-meaning family members insisted that she had to “hold onto salvation,” and Dorothy knew that her faith was weak. The anguish of her soul was only intensified by an extended hospitalisation. And thus her torment continued until one day she reached a conclusion. In her words, “If God can’t save me, I can’t be saved; and worrying won’t change anything. Jesus, here I am. It’s your worry, now.” From that point, Dorothy was free of fear; she never again doubted that God had indeed redeemed her from her sins.
There is a clash between human experience and divine promise. God declares that He will forget the sin of those who are forgiven. Our experience informs us that forgetting is virtually impossible. Though details of past insults and slights may be blurred with time, we struggle to forget that we were hurt by the actions or words of others. Long after the injury was received we will remember that we were wounded.
Before moving into the message, let me caution that what is often done is precisely what has been suggested by the preceding words. We attempt to create God in our image, rather than accepting that we are created in the image of God. Because we cannot forget that we were wounded, we imagine that God must surely remember our sins. Perhaps we imagine that the sins of others are greater than ours, but we think God must remember our sin. Rather than relying on our experience, limited as it is, our appeal must be to God’s Word.
THE DIVINE PROMISE — “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” God had said, “The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares 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. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” [JEREMIAH 31:31-34].
The promise that sin will both be forgiven and forgotten is addressed to those under the New Covenant. Vital to understanding the message is the knowledge that the New Covenant encompasses those who are of the Faith during this Age of Grace. This speaks of confidence that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is very God in human flesh, that He provided a sacrifice for sinful mankind, that He conquered death, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father.
Listen to an extended recounting of the change God has implemented as He permitted the Old Covenant to pass away even as He instituted the New Covenant under which we now live. “The point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.