God who forgives and forgets

22 January 2014

I’ve read before that God not only forgives our sins, but also forgets our sins. Without having to go into a theological debate, I just want to believe that it is true – even if one may argue it is not possible for God to actually “forget”.

To me, the concept of forgetting is limited to my human understanding and experience of forgetting something – i.e. to not be able to recount something that happened before – maybe even a slip of memory or carelessness. But I know that God is perfect, so to “forget” something, requires God to intentionally block out an event that has happened and prevent it from being recounted or re-called.

As C.H. Spurgeon put it so eloquently:
“The Lord does not exercise memory as you and I do. We recall the past, but He has no past—all things are present with Him. God sees everything at once by an intuitive perception—the past, the present, the future are before Him at a glance. We may not speak, except after the manner of men, of the Lord God as having memory, and yet how blessed it is
that He should, Himself, use the speech which is current among ourselves and represent Himself after the manner of a man, and then say, “Your sins and their iniquities will I remember no more forever.” He wishes us to know that His pardon is so true and deep that it amounts to an absolute oblivion—a total forgetting of all the wrong-doing of the pardoned ones!”

I know that I have a tendency to recall mistakes I made or grievances I have against other people even after I have forgiven them. And I think, subconsciously, I have this fear that God might do the same to me. In fact, it is harder for me to conceive a God who “forgets” my sin and easier for me to understand and believe a God who does remember my sin but has chosen to forgive. But that is not what scripture says. In fact in more than one place, God continually emphasizes that He will NOT remember my sins. This isn’t an act of forgetfulness or incapacity of God, rather it is a supernatural act of intentionally disallowing any of my sins or past have an association with me! That’s what it means for me to have died. So that it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me. My identity is changed and therefore what I did wrong before is not only not counted against me, but is not even associated with me anymore.

My understanding may be flawed, but I do not insist on being 100% right. Rather, I actually just like to be in awe and amazement of the lengths that God has and is going through, to let me and everyone know that I have forgiveness in Christ and that such forgiveness is more thorough than I can even comprehend. God didn’t just stop at forgiving – he went on to tell me over and over again that the sins are no longer associated with me because I am a new person – “the old has gone, the new has come”. What’s even more amazing – there is also a whole multitude of verses where God tells me that He is also redeeming everything and making all things new. I don’t know of anything more overwhelming and complete than that.

God, you are too amazing for me, too great and too much for me to comprehend and take in. At times I can catch a glimpse of this greatness and am overwhelmed, but at times it slips. If I could, God, just let me experience for one minute, what it really means and feels like to comprehend fully the mercy, grace and love that I have in you. I’m sure it will take my breath away and change me forever.

“I, even I, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake,
and will not remember your sins.”
Isaiah 43:25.
“For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Jeremiah 31:34.
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their
iniquities will I remember no more.”
Hebrews 8:12.
“And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
Hebrews 10:17.

 

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