I have heard something preached a lot over the years. Something that has never “settled well” in my spirit, Lord. Something that is hard for me to really believe.
It’s the notion that, once we accept You as our Savior, You forget all of our past sins. As if they had never happened.
I know You forgive us, Lord. Completely. Unconditionally. Irrevocably. But how can You forget? How can You suddenly develop Divine Amnesia or Alzheimer’s?
I can guess the motivation for this notion. We so often keep beating ourselves up for the very things You have already forgiven. Maybe if we become convinced You have forgotten those sins, we can let ourselves forget them, too?
But here’s the thing, Lord. I have searched and searched through Your Word… and I can’t find a single verse that tells us about Your forgetfulness. What I did find is a Truth that, to me, is much more powerful:
“… I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:11)
So, I asked You, Lord: Is “remembering no more” the same as “forgetting”?
You sent me to definitions (as You often do) to find some understanding. I know I’m no expert in Hebrew… so I am, at this point, relying on the veracity of the English translations to the original text.
And maybe I’m the only person on Earth who is troubled by the notion of Your alleged forgetfulness. But what I found when I “dug” a little seemed — at least to me — to “fit” You better. To ring more true to Your character.
“Remember” means “to have or keep an image or idea in your mind of something or someone in the past; to cause to come back into your mind.”
“Forget” means “to be unable to think of or remember.”
“Blot out” means “to make obscure, insignificant or inconsequential; to wipe out, destroy.”
(All of these definitions come from www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary)
As I see it, for You to “remember” our sins no more would mean You don’t deliberately keep the image of our sinfulness in Your mind. And with good reason! Because You have forgiven us! You wiped (blotted) out the judgment we had rightfully deserved when You, Jesus, took our punishment on Yourself.
You no longer see us as we used to be… You see us as the “new creations” You have made us to be (2 Corinthians 5:17). You have declared us “Not Guilty!” AND You are making us more and more like You as we surrender more and more to Your Transforming Touch!
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
I can’t imagine You looking down at the scars on Your wrists and feet, Lord… and wondering how they got there. Wouldn’t that be the case, if You had “forgotten” the sins (and the sinners) responsible? The ones who physically beat You and crucified You 2000+ years ago? And yes… everyone else — ourselves, included — .whose sin debt You went to the cross to pay?
When You look at Your own scars and remember with Total Recall what they mean and how they got there, their Redemptive Power shines BRIGHTLY with eternal glory that is Yours alone!
When we look at Your scars with Total Honesty, our own sins that helped cause Your scars drive us to our knees before You — first, in abject repentance; then later, in awestruck wonder and eternal gratitude!
We are no longer hopeless sinners, separated from Your Love! We are Your adopted sons and daughters, basking in Your Love!
Now, we remember all You have done to heal us and deliver us — and to draw us so very near to You. And we want all the more to spend the rest of our days testifying… so that others may find their hope in You, too!
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
By Your Grace, Lord, I remember everything that came before You. But I now remember it differently… redemptively. And I can’t wait to tell the world about You!!!