The Amazing Amnesia of God
Isaiah 43:25 (Pastor Brian)
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, FOR MY OWN SAKE, and remembers your sins no more.”
Title: The Amazing Amnesia of God
Amnesia = medical condition where you forget things – either temporarily or permanently
- “God’s Non-remembrance of Sin” – Charles Spurgeon
- “The Forgetfulness of God”
Here they are combined. God not only chooses to forget our sins, but also NOT remember them.
- Isaiah 43:25 = one reference
- Jeremiah 31:24 “For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.”
- Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more.”
- Hebrews 10:17 “And their sins and their iniquities I will remember NO MORE.”
NO MORE being the KEY here.
“Let those words ‘NO MORE’ echo through the caverns of despondency and despair.”
Here, there are 4 Scriptures. There must be at least 3 testimonies to affirm some kind of statement (Deut, reaffirmed by Jesus in Matthew). There must be numerous witnesses or someone could accuse falsely. So God has said, there must be at least 2-3 witnesses to establish a truth.
Here is not only 2-3, but 4 (and even MORE) of God’s willingness to not call to mind the sins He’s forgiven.
In Isaiah, the prophet speaks of the judgment of God because they’d rejected His covenant. After the Exodus from Egypt, a covenant was established with God and the people promised that they’d keep the covenant.
King Manasseh, Zedekiah, etc were terrible kings – even sacrificing their own children to idols.
God had previously sent prophets to warn them, but they didn’t heed the warnings. In Isaiah, he warns harshly that they will be sent into captivity for 70 years in Babylon.
Yet, even in the midst of judgment, God tells them that he will restore them and have mercy on them – even for their terrible previous sins.
“For my own sake” – is God so fed up with their sins that he can’t stand to look at them? More than that, it’s protecting his own justice, mercy, reputation, etc. Even though he chastises his people, he wants to restore them and shower them with his love and kindness again.
He says, “I’ll do this for my own sake (to show others) that I choose to remember your sins no more.”
These sins are completely blotted out of God’s remembrance. This refers prophetically as well to Jesus’ sacrifice that has blotted out all our sins so that God remembers them no more.
Spurgeon “forgetfulness is an infirmity (problem) – part of aging, human nature” God is not like that – He doesn’t have an infirmity – rather he CHOOSES to (1) Forgive and (2) IMMEDIATELY forget
When someone offends us, we can forgive, but we can’t forget. God doesn’t actually “forget” but chooses “not to bring to mind.” James reference.
- Brian Harbor “Perhaps the most neglected doctrine of theology is the ‘forgetfulness’ of God – when God forgives, he [immediately] forgets. When he forgives our sins, he ERASES it out of the pages of eternity.”
- William Cooper “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform” – this is a poet’s way to say that “God acts differently than we do.” This is obvious in the subject of guilt and sin. What we do with these is totally different from what God does.
“It’s impossible to both have a sensitive conscience and a clean conscience at the same time.” i.e. we KNOW we all sin, so we have guilt – ever since Adam and Eve ate the fruit – we’ve had guilt.
- Psalm 51:3 “For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.” (King David)
- Isaiah met God in the temple “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, dwelling among a people of unclean lips.”
- Matthew 4? The woman caught in adultery – “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
- Once a man sent $100 to the Inland Revenue (tax) and said, “If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send more…”
- Shakespeare – the Lady Macbeth “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the hand (that’s committed murder).”
Guilt is universal. What do we do with it?
#1: Rationalize it
A speeding car caught by a police man said, “I speed so I don’t get in an accident – there are so many…”
Rationalize = to ration lies
We need to OWN UP to it – take RESPONSIBILITY.
#2: Deny it
A person bought a Rolls Royce and experienced some mechanical failure – he wrote to the firm in England, and they flew a man out to fix it – he was waiting for a bill, but it never arrived… He wrote back, “Where’s the bill?” They wrote back, “We have no record of a Rolls Royce with a mechanical problem.” DENIAL.
#3: Run away from it (avoid it)
Massachusetts man stole a watch. He was stricken in his conscience and tried to give it away, no one took it. He threw it away but was still guilty. Thirty-five years later, he sent money and a note to his rabbi to give to the family.
- Run away
This is how WE approach guilt
Colossians 2:13-14 “When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins having canceled the charge of legal indebtedness – he has taken it away, nailing it to his cross.”
What does God do with it?
#1: Faces it
He took our sins upon himself and nailed it to the cross. This is an awesome truth – Jesus (sinless) BECAME sin for us.
How much do we ACTUALLY realize when we say, “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” This is a big difference when our conscience is awakened to the truth of this.
If we are guilty and want forgiveness, we want to KNOW we are forgiven and that God has forgotten.
The events of Passion Week (this next week)
- Throughout the night, Jesus was harassed, passed from one prison to another. Caesar then washed his hands of it, denying his responsibility, running away from his authority, rationalizing his position to give Jesus to the crowd.
- The soldiers ripped off his clothes, pierced his flesh with nails.
- For 6 hours, Jesus bore the ridicule of the crowd before (as) he died.
- The guilt of ALL people of ALL time was placed on his shoulders – he literally BECAME sin for us.
- And by HIS stripes, we have been healed (spiritual healing).
- Friday afternoon, the sky turned black, the temple veil torn in two “Surely this man was the Son of God” (Matthew) “It is finished” (John). He didn’t say, “I am finished” rather, “It is ACCOMPLISHED” (the Will of the Father God) – that none need die in the guilt and sins.
This was God’s plan to deal with guilt. He didn’t rationalize, deny, or run away from it. He FACED it, took responsibility for it, forgave us our sins. (On the cross, Jesus cried out, “Father forgive them…”)
Jesus fulfilled ALL the types and sacrifices and ceremonies in the Old Testament.
Every year, Yom Kippor – the high priest entered into the holy of holies and sacrificed the lambs for the sins of all the people. This Day of Atonement was repeated year after year – it needed to be repeated.
When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away (not just covers) the sin of the world.” John was the voice in the wilderness pointing to Jesus to show that he was the Lamb who would deal with sin.
When God forgives, he forgets.
- Psalm 103:12 “God has removed our sins from as far as the East is from the West.”
- (It’s my birthday today – and my wife read this Psalm on my last birthday.)
- Jeremiah predicted that 31:34 “God will forgive our sins and remember our sins no more.”
- Micah “God will cast our sins into the deepest sea.”
- Paul (Romans 4:7)
- The poet is correct: “God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.”
What does this all mean for us?
Ex: There was a bad guy once involved in terrible crimes, he was converted to Christianity, and afterward took every opportunity to tell of his change. Just before he was to speak once, someone sent an envelope up to him in the front with a LONG list of former sins he’d committed. His first impulse was to leave the pulpit, but he stepped up boldly and said, “Friends, I’m accused of sins in this very city. I’ll read this list to you.” He read and after each said, “It is true, I’ve done that, I’m guilty.”
“You ask how I dare stand before you to speak of righteousness and truth when I have a list of crimes like this under my name. I’ll tell you, IN HIM, we have forgiveness of ALL our trespasses.”
The enemy is called the Accuser of the Brethren.
If you hear the voice, “How dare you stand up and preach Christ when you are such a terrible sinner?” will you rationalize, deny, run away, pack up and leave? Rather, say, “No, I will stand up for Christ, because he has stood up for me.”
Thank God, he has FORGOTTEN my sin – buried in the deepest sea, covered it up, removed it as far as the East is from the West.
Spurgeon said, “The 4 Scriptures should be enough in an of themselves. I want these Scriptures to be like adament (steel) in letting us know that our sins are forgiven.”
Ask, Seek, Knock – if we lay our guilt at Jesus’ feet, we can perhaps know what it is like to truly experience the forgiveness of God.