“I, even I, am he who blot out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25, shouldn’t that end the discussion about what happens to sin? Could it be any clearer? God blots out our transgressions not for our sake but for His own sake and then He remembers them no more.
Living Truth Ministries puts out a little booklet every month with daily devotions. While reading through the June edition, My Daily Journey With Christ, I found this quote, “God has a unique ability concerning sin. He not only forgives sin, but remembers it no more. God, who knows all things will never recall what He knows about us, never use it as ammunition against us, never call us to account for it, and never condemns us for it. He will treat it as if it never took place.” That is good news, isn’t it?
You and I may have the capacity to forgive people who have done us wrong, but we don’t have the capacity to forget about it. We seem to store up those bad memories of broken marriages, jobs lost because of a spiteful boss or a nasty confrontational relative very easily. And just when we think we have gotten over the pain something happens and all those memories come flooding back into our life.
But not God, when He forgives us our sins they are no more. Every time I think about it I want to jump and leap for joy! The God of the Universe whom I have sinned and rebelled against longs for nothing more than to forgive me of my sins against Him and welcome me home again.
Psalm 103:12 reads, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Don’t you just love this verse? No matter how far you travel east or west you would keep going east or west so the two never meet.
My mother was an amazing Christian. She prayed for my sister, brother and me along with her grandchildren and her husband every morning and evening without exception. She knew there was little she could do to convince us about accepting Jesus but she knew the Holy Spirit could do it, so she prayed the Spirit into our life with power to convict us of our sins and bring us to repentance.
Now skip ahead many, many, years and you would find my mother laying in a nursing home bed, partially paralyzed from a stroke and entering into the last months of her life. One day I sat down beside her and tried to talk to her but she seemed far away and distant so I simply sat and held her hand. Eventually, she opened her eyes and said “Ladd, do you think that God will accept me?”
I never loved my mother as much as I did that moment. I leaned over the bed and hugged her and told her that her sins were forgiven and forgotten and remembered no more because she put her trust in God and loved Him with all her heart. “Yes, that’s true,” she said and closed her eyes again.
I had long become indifferent towards Christianity and was startled and taken back by mom’s question, but it made me think as I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting and holding her hand. What could make a woman like my mother who loved God with every fiber of her being wonder about her salvation?
Assurance of salvation is crucial to our spiritual growth as Christians. Isaiah 38:17 tells us, “You have put all my sins behind your back,” and Paul reminds us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
So how does this work that God will forgive me my sins and remember them no more? First, I must acknowledge my sins. That is where the law comes in because it points me to my failure to live up to all that God demands of me. When I stand before the law I see how shabby and broken I really am, and I cannot hide behind a false façade that I am more than I am.
The law drives me to my knees before the cross and the Spirit gives me strength and power to acknowledge and confess my sins. But, the grace of God does even more than that. It brings such a change in my heart that I repent of my sin. When I realize what pain and suffering I bring to God I can only cry out for mercy, forgiveness and love.
Think about how much you love your children. Think about your child being in a horrific situation and needing your help. Crying out for you to come and rescue them and think about how your heart would break if you couldn’t come to them in their time of their greatest need.
Now think if their suffering was because you willed it. That is what God suffered when He listened to His son in the garden weeping tears of blood and pleading if it be the Father’s will that the cup of wrath should pass from Him. That is what drives us to acknowledge that it was for our sins that He suffered that pain, and it is what drives us to confess our sins, repent and turn our backs on our wicked ways.
When we come before God with an honest heart that has broken at the cross, we receive assurance that our sins are forgiven and forgotten. Anything else on God’s part would make a mockery of His Son’s death, the work of the Spirit and our repentance.
If God said, “I know you repented because of your encounter with my Son, but I am only giving you a conditional forgiveness, and if you should mess up I’ll remember those sins,” then God is a hard master. Instead we can trust God, because He proved His love through the cross.
Micah 7:19 says, “You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” When God tells me that is what He does with my sins, I believe Him. Down in the bottom of the bottomless pit goes my sin and there is no fishing allowed.
People like my mother should never have to go through life wondering about their salvation. They are promised a home in heaven if they put their trust in Christ and they are promised that their sins will never be held against them or be brought up to condemn them because God said so. Put your faith in God’s word and live with a joyous heart because you are loved.
* The focus in the news lately has been on ISIS and the atrocities they are committing against Christians and humanity. Did you know that Boko Haram has killed over 350 Christians just in the last week? This evil is widespread and spreading… Pray for God’s protection for these people to hold on to his promise to give them the strength to get through this unthinkable persecution. Go to http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ for updates