The Forgetful God

One of God’s most important qualities – especially for sinners like us – is His forgetfulness. Where would we be if God were not a forgetful God? But before I go further, let me explain a distinction between how God forgets and how we forget.

We use the word forget to refer to something we lose track of unintentionally. That is, when we forget something, we normally don’t mean to! Some unfortunate things that we typically forget may include our spouse’s birthday, our password, our keys, our coffee (terribly tragic), and so on. We don’t desire to forget any of those things, but we do because of our lack of capacity to remember.

God, on the other hand, only forgets when He intends to. This is because His capacity to remember is infinite. He can’t forget anything! That is, of course, unless He means to.

So if God can only forget on purpose, what does He forget? Consider the following three verses:

Isaiah 43:25
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

Jeremiah 31:34
“And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Ezekiel 33:16
“None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.”

The only thing that God willfully forgets is sin. But how does He actually do that? If His capacity to remember is infinite and infallible, how can He make something disappear from it?

Understand that He doesn’t just magically wish your sins away and they disappear. Instead, He “remembered” your sins on Christ, and as a result He “remembers” Christ’s righteousness on you! Do you realize how costly that was to Him? Do you know how much it hurt God to forgive you? It was infinitely costly for God to forget your sins. You are indebted to Christ for what He has done on your behalf, but He doesn’t require you to pay. That’s the point of the Gospel: that Christ has done it all so that you can have it all even though you’ve done nothing. Only an experience of that kind of extravagant grace can propel humans to live the kind of life that God requires of us. It has to be a life of gratitude, not a life of duty.

So how, dear reader, in light of this Gospel, can you store up grudges and bitterness toward others? Instead, may you forgive as you have been forgiven, even though it is exceedingly painful to forgive. Teach others about the love God has shown you by remembering their sins no more.

May you know and then model the same kind of forgetfulness as our gracious God!


2 thoughts on “The Forgetful God

  1. >My birthday is 5/30/1988. Don't forget. šŸ™‚ Great post, hun! How can we begin the process of being like Christ-like and not remembering the sins of others?

  2. >I won't forget your birthday, hopefully…As far as beginning the process of Christ-;ike forgiveness, I wish it were a simple "Do these three things and you won't hold offenses against others!" You need a new heart, which only God can supply, so you have to start by asking Him. But let me take a stab at a couple practical things that will get the ball rolling:1. Think long and hard about what it has cost God to forgive you. If you think God's grace is cheap and that it was easy for Him to forgive, then you won't really appreciate it. (Read 'Cost of Discipleship' by Bonhoeffer)2. I noted in the post, but understand that it was painful for God to forgive you. He had to bear the pain of your forgiveness. Sin causes pain. If you are sinned against and you punish the other person, they feel the pain. If you forgive them, then you feel the pain. Out of love for Christ, and with the strength He supplies, prepare yourself to bear that pain. (Tim Keller preaches about this in a message called 'Reconciliation' which you can find on iTunes)

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