Thursday, April 7, 2011
DOES GOD FORGIVE AND FORGET?
I read a lot. I get lots of messages, tweets, emails, books, and ebooks. Some of the things I get I just delete – if it’s an electronic message of some sort. Some of it I keep, verses from the Bible that someone tweeted; and once in a while I get something that makes me stop and just say, “Huh?”
Recently I got a tweet from someone who is well known. Usually it’s something rather innocuous, not harmful, but a “yah, that was a nice thought but not real meaningful,” tweet. However I got one just the other day that started this search, this study, this correcting of a wrong that has gone out into airways, byways, tweet-ways, and into the minds and souls of every individual that has received that tweet.
When I am unsure about something, especially something that has to do with God, I go to the one and only source I know that will give me the correct information, complete confirmation, and soul-satisfaction; it’s the inerrant, living-truth, life-breathed Word of God. The Bible is after all God speaking to me and you through His written Word. How awesome is that? So that’s where I went. I went to God and His Word. I asked God to show me His truth, about Himself and He did. Praise the Lord!
I know, I know, you want to know what the tweet was and who sent it. Isn’t that just like our human nature? Our old nature? I have debated on whether or not to include that tweet in this message. Would it be productive? Would it cause more harm to young believers? Would it just throw more confusion out there to cause someone to stumble and fall?
My desire is not to create more confusion, but rather present God, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in such a clear manner that there is no confusion. That being said, I am going to quote the tweet, but leave the author of that tweet in the hands of God.
This is what was sent to me and hence, the reason for this message:
“God cannot forget our sins, but He chooses not to dwell on them. He sees us as we are now – sanctified & redeemed.”
At first glance, it appears harmless. But when you read it again, the confusion and harm begins to set in. Now I don’t want you, dear reader, to become anxious, but rather, begin praying for our Lord to open your eyes to the truth you are about to read, your ears to hear what our Lord and Savior is speaking to your soul, and your mind to accept His truth and your heart to have His truth planted firmly in your spirit. Amen.
I have no truth in me. Therefore, what you are about to read is from the Lord God, our Savior and Redeemer. O may His name be glorified in this teaching today.
Please, have your Bible open with me, as you read this. Become like the Bereans, with me. Let us search out the Word of God together and right a wrong, bring clarity in a place of confusion, peace for the troubled soul and light into a dark place. Let the light of the Living Word of God shine into your spirit;
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and morrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Going back to the reason of this article, I want us to examine the statement that was sent, and let us look at it from the view-point of God’s word.
The first part of that statement was, “God cannot forget our sins, but He chooses not to dwell on them.”
If you are like me and have been a servant of God for any length of time, have studied His word diligently, then that statement should send shudders through your soul and your spirit should be shouting, “Untrue!” If you are a new believer, then this statement can only bring confusion and I can only imagine a thought like this, “But I thought my sins were forgiven and washed away?”
For me, reading that brought horror to my soul, for this is but another example of the false teaching that is more and more prevalent through-out the body of Christ, His Church.
O Lord, help me speak Your truth, do not allow me to be guilty of error. For Your name is hallowed and I only desire to bring glory to Your name. Amen.
Immediately I got my Bible out and began searching. This searching has brought me here. And this is what I found. So get your Bible, and your favorite high-lighter or pen and be prepared to highlight, underline, or circle these verses.
My first stop was in the Psalms. Psalm 103:11-12
“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
That verse began to give me some comfort. I knew once I had confessed my sins and agreed with the Lord my need of a Savior, He had removed my transgressions; they were as far from me as the east is from the west. Thank you Lord.
But, I wasn’t yet satisfied. I wanted to know; does God forgive and then forget my sins? Because according to the message I had received, He doesn’t. And if He doesn’t…. well, that begins to open a whole new can of worms, so to speak.
So here we go, more digging in the Word of Truth. My next stop was Isaiah 43:25.
I want to give you a short background here about who God is speaking to and why. God is speaking to the nation of Israel through His prophet Isaiah. The people of Israel had turned away from God and turned toward their sinful ways in practicing abominations such as sacrificing their children, adultery, and worshiping other gods. There is more but you get the picture. They were no different then we are, without Jesus as our Lord and Master. Sinful, willful, rebellious children deserving the wrath of God; yet here He is telling them that if they would turn back to Him, this is what He will do:
“”I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”” (Isaiah 43:25) [Emphases is mine.]
Did you read that? Let’s look at that verse again. I want to break it down for us.
First, God is saying He is the One who blots out our transgressions. If your and my transgressions are blotted out, that means they are no more. Right? If they are no more how can they be remembered?
Second, He does it for His own sake. Think about that. God blots out our sins, our transgressions, for His own sake. Why do you think that is?
Well, take a look at God’s character. He is a holy God, He is righteous, He is True and Faithful, He is Loving and Compassionate, He is Alpha and Omega, He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, He is the Judge of all the earth and heavens and all it contains, He is Creator, He is the Beginning and the End, The King of kings and the Lord of lords. But most of all He is Holy.
Because He is holy, He cannot tolerate our sin(s). Our Just and Holy God does not and cannot look at our sins, nor does He accept our sinful ways. Why, if He did, He wouldn’t have called the children of Israel to repentance time and again. If He did, He wouldn’t have sacrificed Himself, shedding the innocent blood of Jesus, on the cross. We wouldn’t have needed a Savior! But, I am getting ahead of myself.
For His own sake….
David wrote in Psalm 23 that the Lord led him in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (verse 3b). Ezekiel, the prophet wrote,
“”Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.”” (Ezekiel 36:22-23) (Emphases are mine.)
Because God is holy, anything and everything He does is for His own sake, including blotting out our sins, our transgressions. O Praise the Lord all you people! Jesus bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed! (Isaiah 53:4-5) He did this for His name’s sake! O Hallelujah!
Why am I getting so excited? Because of this:
““No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) (Emphasis is mine.)
Did you see that? He forgives our iniquity and He remembers our sin no more! Get excited! Praise the Lord. How wonderful is the Word of God, for it reveals to us His truth and glory.
The Lord God forgives us of our sins when we confess our sins. Look at these verses:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8)
“I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” (I John 2:12) [Emphasis is mine.]
Oh and here is my favorite:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
When we believe in Jesus, confess “with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
When we do this very thing, then we are no longer children of wrath worthy of nothing but the wrath of God. Oh the Bible says it so much better, go to Ephesians chapter 2 and read this:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raise us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-6; 8-9)
Because of this wondrous work of the cross and the gift of salvation, “…He sees us as we are now – sanctified and redeemed.” (This is the last part of the tweet I had received.)
By the way, we are continually being sanctified. The work of God isn’t complete in us until we are with Him. He will continue to do His good work in us. Paul wrote to the Philippians that he was confident “…of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) And to the Thessalonians he said,
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thessalonians 5:23)
I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. It gives me peace. It gives me confidence in the Lord, knowing that once I confess my sins to Him (yes, I sin, because like you, I still have this flesh to deal with and it’s not dead yet) He is faithful and just to forgive my sins; and not remember them. Not only that, but He will cleanse me from unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
So now when He looks at me, He doesn’t see my sins, He doesn’t even remember my sins, He sees me, He sees you, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, covered in His righteousness, justified (just as if you never had sinned), sanctified (set apart for Him), a saint and more. Here is Peter has to say:
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9)
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, all of you who are servants of the Lord.
I pray that this has all made sense to you. My prayer for you is there is now no confusion when it comes to God forgiving you and forgetting your sins. I pray that this message will bring some light into your life and lighten your footstep as you walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.
In closing, I want to say to those who are not saved, “confess with you mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) For it is written,
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
So there is no way around it. Eventually you will have to confess He is Lord. Do it now so you might be saved. “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:7-9)
Take this time to turn to God and away from your sinful life. Allow the Lord Jesus Christ to be Master and Savior for you; so you may spend eternity with Him and not in the lake of fire.
To those of you whose walk may not be on the straight and narrow, the above verses apply to you as well. Draw near to your Lord and Savior and He will draw near to you. Confess your sins so He may cleanse you of unrighteousness.
May the Lord Jesus bless you and keep you. May He give you strength, courage and peace as we walk through these last days awaiting for His return. And may He grant you discernment to know the false from the truth. Try the spirits, read His unchanging Word and cling to Him with all your might, so you will not be moved from His side. Amen.
Because He lives!
April 7, 2011