Remembering and Forgetting

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25

For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12

He will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, You will cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. 1 Corinthians 11:25

Here’s one that coming to you with many tears and much gratitude and joy!

We are born under Adam into a world where we are tempted to sin everywhere we turn, and where we are reminded from our very heart and conscience that we are condemned for giving in. In everything from actual moral failure to feeling unattractive to procrastination to missing our career ideals to bad coping behaviors to sexual shame to a million unfinished projects, we feel the weight of our failure all the time. We seem to be hardwired to remember our sins and to forget or to discount forgiveness. We enter every new situation with trepidation and fear of failure and judgement. Self-confidence is an issue of character development and courage, not our first natural inclination. Our first natural inclination is fear and hiding. We expect to fail unless we work very very hard and things otherwise go our way. We live under the constant threat of embarrassment and failure before we have even started to do anything! When we fail, we actually think there is some virtue in discounting mercy and making things very hard on ourselves.

Apparently God is the exact opposite. He proactively and intentionally refuses to remember our sins. If you pray and say to Him, “remember when I did this?” He doesn’t say, “I can’t remember.” That suggests that if only He could, He might remember, but that it is not in His grasp. He goes further. He says, “I refuse to remember.” If circumstances seem to be leading to remembrance of your sins, He has put a lock on it and put armed guards around the entrance. God, the Creator of the universe, refuses. I bet He is fairly stubborn and very creative about making sure this is forgotten! If someone seems to be overcoming His defenses and is in danger of causing Him to remember, He can create a universe or two of mazes and mine fields to make sure that doesn’t happen. I would like to know who exactly is going to argue with Him about this? Faced with it, anyone would drop their condemning stone. It helps His cause to persist in His forgetfulness. He means to keep being merciful and to govern His remembrance so that it the sinful part of your history is wiped out, blotted, erased, and thrown overboard into the deepest part of the ocean.

When Malaysian flight 370 crashed into the ocean, and the entire world was desperate to find it, even after many months of searching with their best equipment, they couldn’t find it. Because of international scrutiny on account of the terrible cost of the lives that were lost, many millions of dollars were spent and the best efforts of many nations were coordinated to find a LARGE AIRPLANE, but it was lost to the ocean depths. Even so our sins have been selectively and definitively forgotten. You may go searching, you may use every resource to search. But your sins have been atoned for, and God has made His decision. They will not be remembered. They will not be found. They are gone. In the end no one will succeed in finding them.

However, there is something which God proactively and intentionally remembers. He remembers His mercy which is given through the blood of Jesus Christ:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2

He remembers the great price of mercy. Jesus, who was slain for our sins, is there reminding the Father. It is His blood which the ocean of the forgetfulness of our sins. He rose from the grave with the scars of His death still intact, and He stands forever on the throne of God in heaven a lamb as if slain. He remembers the great price of His own mercy.

So, we have it backwards. We think our sins define us before God, and that mercy is unjustified and vaporous. We constantly remember and are reminded of our guilt, and forget the joy of our salvation. We write this hellish and damaging script onto God! But He knows this, and He has mercy even on this. He gives us the observance of the communion table. He says that as often as we drink the cup, we declare the Lord’s death. He asks that we remember His great and costly mercy, if we cannot, like Him, forget our guilt. He asks that our community be defined by His great mercy which He created with His very blood, and not by our failures and guilt.

So the difference between the world and the church is all in what we remember and what we forget. The church agrees with God: the only ultimate authority who matters refuses to remember our guilt and insists on remembering His mercy. We simply agree with Him and receive it!

In the end, here is what He wants you to remember: you are genuinely and completely forgiven. Mercy and grace define you start to finish. You have been forgiven for everything. Forever. Rejoice!!!

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

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