It was a beautiful Friday morning. I had just got done taking a class at Vernon College’s campus in Wichita Falls and I was driving home. I was so stoked and excited to be doing just that because I had just procured my driver’s license three days before. I was driving down Southwest Parkway and approached an intersection at a normal speed. The light turned yellow and I made a dumb decision. I tried to speed up and get through only to have it turn red just prior to me entering the intersection. To make matters far worse, I immediately noticed a police officer pull out behind me with his lights on. Yes, I got a ticket and yes it was three days after getting my license (both my parents and their insurance company were not pleased with me).
Yet I was able to get this small (albeit stupid) traffic violation off of my record by taking what felt like a ten-thousand hour course in defensive driving (it was probably only six hours). Now I don’t have a ‘running a red light’ traffic offense associated with my name. My offense has been pardoned.
In an exponentially greater sense and scope, it is incredibly beautiful that God has promised to not hold any of our sins against us. In the work of salvation through the sacrifice of Christ we have been forever forgiven. Not only that, but God chooses to not remember our sins any longer.
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will remember not your sins.” – Isaiah 43:25
In a human sense, we tend to separate these two realities. We may be able to forgive with sincerity, but it is immensely difficult to no longer hold peoples offenses against us no more. Try as we might, we struggle to truly pardon and choose to not remember the offenses of co-workers, family members, friends, strangers. Their offenses may slowly dissipate in our minds over time, but this is more often forgetting rather than not remembering.
There is a fundamental difference in forgetting someone’s sins and choosing not to remember them. Forgetfulness is passive while choosing not to remember is active. I forget things all the time. I forget where I put my wallet or keys. I forget to send an e-mail or respond back to a text. I forget what day in April is actually Jamie’s birthday. These are passive realities of being a human with a finite mind who can’t cling to every piece of info.
The trite old saying ‘forgive and forget’ may be worth adhering to in a sense, but it pales in comparison to the wonders of the gospel of grace. God has not forgotten our sins. He has chosen to not remember them. He has not in a passive sense forgotten that I sinned against Him today like I forgot how much meat goes in Hamburger Helper for that would make Him less than perfect. Instead, God in His wonderful and wondrous grace has elected not to remember my sins any more. When He thinks of me, He sees the righteousness and perfection of Christ. When He thinks of me, the immensely long laundry list of grievances against His holiness and perfection is nowhere in sight. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, my transgressions have been blotted out. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, God has chosen to not remember my sins. It is for His own sake that He does such a wondrous thing. It is for His glory.
If this is true, it should change everything.
If this is true, it should change how we respond to being treated poorly.
If this is true, it should change how we view ourselves in the day-to-day activities of life.
If this is true, it should change how we worship the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
The beauty of the gospel of grace is that IT IS TRUE.
Jesus commanded us in Luke 6:36 to extend mercy in the same way that we have had mercy extended to us.
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. – Luke 6:36
This truth should change how we respond to being treated poorly. I am not advocating being a doormat or allowing yourself to remain in dangerous or harmful situations with family or friends. I’m not advocating a frivolous lack of accountability or justice. Yet how can we walk in the gospel of grace and extend mercy through actively choosing to no longer hold people’s sins against them? Can you imagine the spirit and aura of restoration would permeate the church if this level of forgiveness saturated all of our communities and relationships (I have no idea how exactly this would play out in such a manner but it’s something I’m prayerfully exploring)?
This truth should change how we view ourselves. I’ll be real honest here for a minute. I allow myself to feel condemned for sin that has been nailed to the cross of Christ. I will too often operate in a mindset and self-image defined by my mistakes rather than the victories and gifts of grace that God has put in place in my life (any good character trait in any of us comes directly from the grace of God [James :17]). But if God no longer remembers any of our sins and doesn’t hold them against us after we’ve repented and trusted in the work of Christ, we shouldn’t allow Satan to hold those things in our hearts and minds any longer. Journey with me in discovering what it means to walk in freedom and the beautiful promise that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Finally, this truth should change how we worship. Christmas is rapidly approaching and yet in these moments of excitement and fun, family and friends, we should be worshiping this God who became flesh, who lived the perfect life we couldn’t and died the death we deserve only to rise again from the dead in order to defeat the curse of sin and death. This same God who died for us also actively chooses to not remember our sins any longer.
Oh happy day.
Live in the freedom of God’s extravagant grace.
In His Name,
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