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God Will Not Remember!

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

— Started by Odunayo Olashore.

A difficult question arises if indeed it is possible for mortals to forgive and forget. It gets even more puzzling when this is asked of the immortal creator whom we know possesses infinite knowledge. Can God really forget anything? Even computers and smart phones in today’s world would readily provide information yet undeleted from their memory when required at the press of a button.

Yet it is worth reminding us that if God created us in express replica of His image and gave us our freewill, He too definitely has freewill. It is therefore the usage or exercise of this free will that gave rise to His covenant in Hebrew 8:12, “I WILL be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds WILL I remember no more.” Here we see the power of His WILL. Just as it is instructive that though omnipresent, God’s manifest presence isn’t in all lives; though omnipotent, His strength appears missing in many. He chooses where and when to manifest His divine attributes. Which further means that, for those who are under His banner of love, He can choose to have ‘divine amnesia’ so to speak where their misdeeds are concerned.

Ps 103 vs 12 puts it this way, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Why does He do this, one might ask? The ready answer is provided by the preceding verse, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy towards them that fear Him.

It is hard enough to forgive, not to add the almost incomprehensible demand of forgetting a wrong with an after effect; shock or injury especially those that still probably reverberates in our very being. I posit that, the age old saying, ‘To err is human, to forgive is divine’ is quite apposite to His show of mercy here. Therefore, as funny as I might attempt to rearrange the catchphrase, ‘Forgive and forget’ into forget and forgive, it seems by taking our sins far away beyond our imagination, God is saying He perceives us as being free, without luggages. And then, we once in sins as bright as scarlet are washed and turned white as snow and that which was unlovable becomes adorable.

It is quite obvious that forgiveness of our sins is neither automatic nor spontaneous, but rather a consequence of a contrite spirit which goes beyond only confessing our sins to actually WILFULLY turning away from our wrongs with a penitent heart, “For godly sorrow works repentance…”IICor 7:10. Which means that, when it comes to our sins being obliterated from God’s memory, we also have a part. They had better not be continued intentionally.

Let’s take a look at the case of David when he slept with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, and still went ahead to kill the husband. Prophet Nathan’s message came to him as a paradox that made him pronounce a judgement of death on himself even before repentance. Nathan declared in IISam 12: 10, “…the sword shall never depart from your house...” Judgement had caught up on David before he realised his sin, despite that Nathan later scaled down his punished in verse 13b ,“….The Lord also hath put away thy sin, thou shall not die,” - Perhaps this continuity in sin can be likened to the that of the Israelites in the wilderness for whom after Moses’ interceded, God still said, “ …. I have pardoned them according to thy word,” - Num 14:20. But fast forward to verse 22 and 24, He had to add, “…And they have tempted me now these ten times… . Surely they shall not see the land…”

For ten times in a streak, there was no break of repentance, then judgement happened despite despite Moses plea. It is possible to think God kept a record of their wrongs. But that’s not true as God still promised not to remember sins repented of. Genuine repentance is our part which reminds us that God indeed love sinners but hate sin. You would agree that, that is similar to sinning and hoping that grace may abound. The challenge comes when their unyielding resistance to obedient nature necessitated God to add up their cups of wrongs after using up his endurance. It reminds me of a once deleted document I still retrieved from a recycle bin.

— Concluded by Olusola Olusanya from here.

Thanks Odunayo,

Forgetting sins is indeed a hard one, both to write and to read about. No other topic so far had had its ink curdy for so long in my pen. What makes this even harder to chew just as Odunayo pointed out is that this isn’t just about anyone forgetting, God’s own memory is what is being grilled here. Which suggests that the same all-knowing, transcendent failsafe memory bank of all times can share in our amnesia! Is anyone still finding that Hebrew 8:12 too new to be true? Below is an Old Testament snippet where it all started out as a promise.

“But you have burdened Me with your sins, you have wearied Me with your iniquities. ‘I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” – Isaiah prophecy in verse 25 of his 43rd chapter. And you asked if this wasn’t quoted out context? I asked the same. But reassuringly, it isn’t. And God remains the I am that I am back then there and now. Please reread it in any friendlier version you may lay your hands on if you have to. You will also realise that, that God will not remember our sins is central to all.

While is its easy to leap forward in the defence of the unfailing memory of God, and piously explain this love spilling bible verse away by saying that, God will simply not revisit the punishment of old sins of the fathers on the children, it is simply what it is. God, even our God will not remember our sins anyone, which then, by extension also means He wouldn’t punish it. Does it then suggest God doesn’t know some of the bible verses where sins committed are repented of? Even though we memorised them to the letter and recite them on the fly? No, He still know those verses, far more than was written but they just don’t read the same sinful meaning they use to before repentance. He hasn’t forgotten there was a sinner, He just will not recall a single sin of such now a righteous person. This is where God not remembering our sins isn’t exactly the same as Him forgetting our sins.

And if you had thought the above difference was merely down to semantics, you might have to think again. Whereas to be forgetful is a show of weakness – however unintentional, not to remember and wilfully so doing, is a demonstration of strength. Remember the scripture didn’t say God will forget our sins, it’s simply that He will not remember. We will therefore keep it simple as it is. We forget things often out of ageing; ageing either of our memory or the events themselves and sometimes out of absent mindedness. But none of these natural frailties have caught up with God the omniscient yet. Which then tells us that His willingness by not remembering our sins is supernatural. Wilfully not remembering our sins is a miracle by itself. And the earlier we begin to see the contrast between forgetting and not remembering, the earlier we begin to apply this first to ourselves, of the sins against our own bodies and then to those who offend us. You can wilfully not remember their sins anymore!

If we understood with God that it was okay to reveal the sins and the unrepentant lives of Adam and Eve, Cain, down to the Israelites to Moses, almost line by line as written out in Genesis as if Moses was there because they had no godly sorrow that worked out repentance, even up that of David which Odunayo mentioned - all whom judgements caught up on them already without repentance, how about loads of verses of repentant others which His Spirit equally revealed and were written in the bible? That God could recalled that we have all burdened and wearied Him with our sins showed that He didn’t forget that we were once all sinners and have fallen short of His glory, repentant or not.

When the woman caught redhanded in the very act of adultery was to be stoned, it wasn’t that Jesus forgot the scene. Obviously not more so that He hinted on not forgetting the soiled and dirty hands of the stoners too. But He decided not to remember theirs too, which is why none was left standing if He was to mark sins.

What we should ask is why would He promise not to remember? Why would He do this undoing of recall of our sins in Isaiah 43:26? You will see if you read the marvellous verse again that it says, “I do this for my own sake.” It got to a point that God chose not to remember our sins. Hebrew 12:8 recorded it as when the time came. The best we could get from the blood of animals was Him giving us a promise that He will not remember them, but that didn’t happen until the new covenant was sealed by the blood of the Lamb! He promised He will not remember not because our sins are distant and aged. In fact, they were so deeply hurting and refreshening to God that you don’t have to be God not to forget. He had to visit them beyond the fourth generations. Our generational sins were heavy yokes that God in the preceding verses was going to challenge Isaiah to a sin memory drill if Israel was going to show off or prove self-righteousness or any innocence. God promised mercy that He WILL not remember, not because those sins are trivial either; in fact they come in different shapes of iniquities and transgressions and lawlessness that only God can identify which is which. He will no remember for His own sake.

It showed that forgetting our sins isn’t really the issue much as not remembering them. New or Old Testament, He didn’t forget we were sinners, the difference is that in the New which started at the death of Christ, He fulfilled His promise of not remembering them!

He didn’t forget that were once sinners but He just wouldn’t remember a single sin afterwards! After Jesus’ resurrection, not that the graveyard made Him forget that Simon denied Him three times three days back, but had He decided not to remember his sin when he told Mary to break the news of His resurrection, and then added specifically, tell Peter too.

Remember that we are made in the likenesses of God who is Spirit. There’s a way you might not have forgotten a hurt you have done to yourself but because the healed scar now only remind you of healing and not the injury, you don’t remember details again.Not that you forgot you were once injured but have chosen not to remember hurts because of the event that has overtaken them. When it comes to our sins, Jesus’ death was the event that overtook them. By remaining silent when accused of our sins as a sheep to the slaughter house, He took over responsibility of our sins. The scene of our sins on Him up to His death in the sight of God was what took them out of the way, far away from us as east is to the west, nailed them to the cross and what God only wants to remember is that He has forgiven us on the cross. The cup of our sins were finished that moment He looked away from Christ. His remembrance of the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins is the difference between God not forgetting our sins and Him not remembering them. Despite not forgetting that we were once in sins, He will not remember our sins anymore.

So, it’s not much about His memory being formatted as it is ours. If forgetting the past and reaching on to those things which are ahead, will benefit anyone, it is us. Forgiving your own self, even if it’s hard not to forget, receive the mercy not remember! What is even more amazing is how God still makes us learn from perpetual sins of ours those which judgement has overtaken before we repent which made Odunayo pointed out as appearing that God was keeping records of wrongs. Now, the Saul turned Paul comes handy. Like David, judgement already caught up with him while on the horse before he repented! When God showed him of things he must suffer, it wasn’t for restitution for persecuting the church, no one can really pay for their sins just as the child born blind. God wasn’t punishing him, He already punished Jesus. He was only teaching Him and with a sufficient grace to bear the judgment before his repentance. Which is why Paul said he bore the mark of Christ upon him. The scars borne from judgement are not to scare us, they are like the nail holes in the hands of the resurrected Christ reminding us that though God didn’t forget that we were once sinners, He will not remember our sins anymore.

Little wonder there will not be another testament after the new. He will not remember our sins anymore. All handwritings against us are blotted out, only the book of life. There will not be another bible to remind Him of our sins after the New Testament. Even the scary book of Revelation of the future is laid bare ahead of times for our good. Jesus already fulfilled the scripture and we are now the living epistles of the word hidden in our hearts. No more falling of trees for printing press, the law is written in the leaflet of our hearts and there will be no need for Rabbis as the Spirit of God will teach everyone. Or leading by hand like the old Israelites who still perish midway to the promise land.

With that, let’s forget about God forgetting. And focus on Him not remembering. In this new and greatest blood covenant of all, we are not even talking of deleting written ordinances of sins but deleting the recycle bin itself. No more recycle bins to remind you of your last dirt. Is it why He gave that woman to go and sin no more. That God will no longer remember is such that even a woman we didn’t forget was caught in the act of adultery can make no dirt any more. That God will no longer remember your sins is not an haulage of your scrapyards. It is turning the scrapyard into a vineyard.

God is so pure that recalling the memory of our sins alone is tainting, wearying and burdening. Remember He had to look away from Jesus made sin on the cross when Jesus cried, Eloi, Eloi, why have you forsaken me. Which is why Paul later said falling away from faith is nailing Christ again onto ourselves the second time in Hebrew 6:6. Little wonder, when the condemned and executed but repented sinner on Jesus’ right prayed to be remembered in Jesus Kingdom. The world had judged him to death but he repented before the judgement of God. And by that faith and last gasp breath of repentance, Jesus might not have forgotten he was the thief on His right side but immediately will not remember any of his sins than stealing the show on the cross on the way to hell.

If we kept the scene of His death for our sin in mind, remembering it like God does, not in sorrow of the hurt but with breaking bread instead over the sting of sin, wouldn’t crucify him again into ourselves. When we remember that God will not remember our past sins, we would not commit them in future that grace may abound. Our repentance will be genuine like Odunayo advised. Then when He comes with judgement on the unrepentant, He meets us just as He had remade us, free of past guilts, spotless and without wrinkles, otherwise what would have been the essence of God not remembering our sins?

— Co-written by Odunayo and Olusola

Join us in the bicq 16 - Religion : A Golden Shackle, as we take another look at Christ Jesus if indeed He was Religious.

BICQMag TEAM Salem Otto - Ghana Jeremiah Ishaya - Northern Nigeria Oluwatobi Shoyoye - Southern Nigeria Olusanya Racheal - Northern UK Odunayo Olashore - Canada

Olusanya Olusola - Southern UK

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