July 10, 2015
God's Selective Memory
By Skip Heitzig
I once read that we don't really forget anything. Everything we see, do, read, or hear is seared into our hard drive. Well, having it in the hard drive is one thing; recall is quite another. We forget people's names; we forget our promises. We also forget God. How easy it is to go through the day and get so busy with the world around us that we forget God gave us breath and saved us from our sins. Forgetting is typically thought of as a human attribute, but there is something even God said He forgets.
In Jeremiah 31, Jeremiah prophesied how God would bring Israel a Savior and establish a new covenant with them: "I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
In this text, God promised that He would forget. That's a bit unnerving. It sounds irreverent because God is omniscient; He knows everything (see 1 John 3:20). So when we talk about God forgetting, we need to lay down a few ground rules.
First of all, God doesn't forget to maintain His creation. The Bible says concerning Jesus, "In Him all things consist" or are held together (Colossians 1:17). He lavishes the earth with sunshine and rainfall. He opens the doors of heaven, so to speak, and lets the sun out in the morning and parks it inside in the evening. God keeps all of that going. There are a hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, but scientists tell us there are billions and billions of galaxies beyond that. God doesn't forget that.
Second, God doesn't forget His children. Like I talked about last week, Jesus said, "If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:30). If God does indeed maintain His universe, He won't forget His children. Listen to this beautiful promise: "Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you" (Isaiah 49:15). Even though it's possible for a woman to neglect her own child—in some tragic cases, it happens—God said, "I will not forget you." To Him, you're not some number or face in a crowd. You're an individual. It could be that friends and family have forgotten you—but God will not forget you.
Third, God doesn't forget His promise. Specifically, He promises to save for eternity anyone who calls on Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So then, what is the one thing God said He forgets? It is your sin. It is my sin. I want your heart to lay hold of that truth. When I say, "God forgets," it's not an accidental act of forgiving; it's a purposeful choice of not remembering. Do you know why? Because Jesus Christ did such a good job of washing away your sin that there's no stain left. There's nothing left to remind God of it. Jesus "was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him" (Isaiah 53:5). God has chosen not to remember our sins because of what Jesus did. God's selective memory is one of our greatest benefits. Let's rejoice in that today!
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