Divine Forgetfulness

“No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.  “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more,” (Jeremiah 31:34, emphasis mine).

Of all the things that God can do, I think the most mind-blowing power He has is the power to forget.  Have you ever considered how God is able to forget?  I mean, He’s God, right?  He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10)—every detail!  How does God forget anything?  Psalm 9:18 says that God will never forget the needy.

I heard a sermon in which the preacher said that in order to resurrect the dead, God doesn’t need the entire body intact, only a sample of their DNA.  But there are many saints who were martyred by being burned.  Their DNA has been completely destroyed.  But God, who has numbered the very hairs on their heads (Matthew 10:30), remembers them in detail, right down to the details of their DNA.  Even with all our scientists and computers, we still don’t know the exact number of genes there are in human DNA, but estimates range up to 150,000, according to the Human Genome Project.  And each person is absolutely unique.  So if God knows the exact number of the hairs on each head of every person alive today (over 7 Billion, source World Population Clock), and everyone who has ever previously lived, which is a number that only God knows, but we could estimate would be another 7 Billion, that is a mind-boggling amount of information.  And God doesn’t need to write it down.  He remembers it—all of it!

So I think I’m safe in saying that God has an infinite memory—He is omniscient, which means that He knows everything (I John 3:20, Hebrews 4:13).  How does someone with an infinite memory forget?  Yet the Bible says again and again that God will forget our sins (Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 10:17, Isaiah 43:25, and Jeremiah 31:34, above).

The Bible gives the answer in Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered,” (emphasis mine).  And again: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them,” (Romans 4:7-8, emphasis mine).  How does someone with an infinite memory forget?  He forgets by focusing on the thing that has covered our sins.  There is only one thing that covers sin, and that is blood.  And only the blood of Jesus permanently covers sin.

If your sins have not been covered by the blood of Jesus, you cannot stand in the presence of our Holy God.  But you can very easily remedy that situation.  Right now you can make Jesus your Savior.  Pray this prayer with me:

Lord God, I know that I’ve sinned against You.  I am truly sorry.  Please forgive me for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place to cover my sins.  Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You through the power of Your Holy Spirit who I receive right now.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.

If you just prayed that prayer for the first time, welcome to the family of God!  Yes, you have been adopted as His child, and you are now a new creation (Romans 8, Galatians 4:6-7, and 2 Corinthians 5:17).  All the old life has passed away.  Hallelujah!  To start this new life right, you should do 2 things right away:

  1. Read the Bible.  If you don’t have a Bible, most cities have a Christian bookstore where you can get one.  Most churches also sell Bibles—some even give Bibles to new believers.
  2. Get involved with a Bible-preaching church in your area.  Notice I say “get involved.”  Church is not a building.  Church is a living organism—the Body of Christ.  So get actively involved.

Remember this above all else: God is good!

Peer Pressure – Pay Your Bill!

Here in Bulgaria if someone doesn’t pay their gas bill, the gas company will shut off the gas to the whole building—something they could never get away with in either Italy or the US (or most civilized places).  They are counting on the neighbors to put pressure on the offender to pay his bill, and it seems to work pretty quickly.  Buck and Nadia don’t suffer much since their apartment is well-insulated, their stove is electric, and there is a backup boiler for heating water.

This method harks back to Communist times, when the government would punish whole blocks or even whole communities where a dissident lived by shutting off the heat.  This was easy for them to do because whole communities were heated from gigantic boilers that looked a lot like nuclear reactor cooling towers.  The heat was shut off for a whole town like shutting off a faucet.

And speaking of dissidents, I heard about another pastor who had suffered severe persecution under the Communists.  There were no details given, and that is either because the family didn’t know the details or because the details are so unpleasant that they didn’t want to speak about it over a meal.  After reading “Tortured for Christ” by Richard Wurmbrand, either one is possible.

Some churches seek to keep their people in line by peer pressure, and by preaching about being ever on guard against sin.  It’s a very common topic in Italian churches.  But a legalistic approach like this is the opposite of grace.

Lately grace has been on my mind.  Pastor Fabio preached two weeks ago that when Jesus said from the cross, “It is finished,” He meant that all the curses of original sin and all the works of the devil have been undone and paid for.  All our sin, all our sicknesses, and death—all of it has been undone and paid for by Jesus’ blood.  No peer pressure is needed to keep us in line.  I John 3:6 says: “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”  And John wasn’t saying that we would never sin because he also wrote: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One,” I John 2:1.  The difference is an occasional sin versus a lifestyle of habitual sinful behavior.  Grace covers the first one, while the second neither knows or appreciates grace.

No church and no pastor anywhere will have a congregation of perfect people who never sin.  And we need to be aware that not everybody who comes to church—not even every active member—is really and truly born again.  That’s what the parable of the wheat and weeds was about (Matthew 13:24-30).  Some people love church, love the music, love the activities, but just don’t really love Jesus.  No amount of peer pressure will ever change them, either.  The only thing that truly changes lives is love.  Love triumphs over all, and that is the story of grace.  God is good!