555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

425. What Is the Effect of Forgiveness?




Some may ask: "Has God forgotten all about my sins now that they are forgiven, and if so why do we not forget?" God says in Is. 43:25 and Jer. 31:34 that he will not remember our transgressions. The sense of "remember" in these passages is clearly that God does not remember the sin against the sinner. The account is canceled; the sins are no longer imputed to him. Since the revelation of God's plan of the atonement, we see that the debt is paid. When a debt is paid it is forgotten, though the record of the transaction may remain in the memory of the people (concerned. In this sense God forgets our sins, but there is no reason for supposing that he undoes or limits his omniscience by literally not knowing that certain past events have occurred. We know of them, and God cannot observe our own minds without seeing there the record of our sin. There are various passages in Scripture in which God recalls his forgiveness of the iniquities of his people, but the remembrance is not an accusation but rather a testimony of forgiveness. We cannot, by the exercise of the will, make ourselves forget anything. It would be a subtle and almost inconceivable miracle for God to disentangle from our brains the memory of our sins and yet leave there the memory of other acts and events of the same days and hours. While we know that, in every sense of debt or blame, God forgets our sins when he forgives us, it should help to restrain people from sin to recognize the fact that a sin once committed will probably never be erased from our memory, at least in this life, and that it can never be lost from the simple, truthful record of the world's events. This is good for us as a reminder and as a stimulant. Seeing the dangers we have escaped helps us against having serious lapses. Not that we are become sinless, but, thanks to the promises in I John 3*9, we are rid of che dominion of sin, and the lapses we do have are not imputed. Therefore, let none despair in the thought that anything in the past, great or small, can prevent them from having God's peace in their souls just now. Salvation is a present matter. So far as our present standing in Christ is concerned it does not make any difference whether we were converted at the time we were baptized or not. The only question is: "Will we trust Christ just now to forgive all the sins of the past and to make us truly his?" There are promises in the Bible, by the score, of forgiveness for any sinner who will ask for it. Murderers, thieves, drunkards, all sorts of sinners, have found these promises true and received God's peace in their souls. God will forgive and forget, and let you start all over again now ? Cease doubting him. Begin to trust him and your trouble will disappear. Read Gal. 5*6; II Cor. 7:2; Is. 55:7; Is. 1:18; Is. 43:25-