At times, I have a better memory than God. Well…in one specific area that is. He can create the cosmos from nothing, but He’s forgetful. In fact, He does it on purpose. Read it for yourself:
“For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.” Hebrews 8:12
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12
God forgives sin and chooses to never remember. It almost seems unjust. I can barely wrap my head around that sort of grace. It’s downright scandalous.
HOW IT’S POSSIBLE:
Make no mistake about it. What happened on Calvary was as scandalous as it gets. The Son of God absorbing the wrath of God so that your sin, which defies God, would be blotted out outshines any love on Earth. The 19th century hymn, “Before the Throne of God Above” says it perfectly:
When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
The sight of Christ’s scars gives my Heavenly Father divine amnesia. So, why do we choose to remember something that God purposefully removes from His mind? What makes us shackled in guilt to the sin of our past?
WHY IT’S HARD TO EMBRACE:
It’s the same reason we talk about our scars without mentioning His. We have not yet grasped the height and depth and breadth of God’s love. Instead, we choose to replay our sin over and over again believing the guilt will make us more lovable in God’s sight. But the cross was enough.
Know this. If you are paralyzed by your past, the cross was enough. If you feel defeated by sin, the cross was enough. If you feel like God could never forgive your lifetime of rebellion, the cross was enough. If you feel trapped in your struggle, the cross was enough. Christ on the cross was and will always be enough.
Confess your sin, turn away from it, believe on Christ and move forward. If you’ve hurt others, ask their forgiveness and remember His scars. Nobody had to do this more than the Apostle Paul.
EVEN STRONG CHRISTIANS STRUGGLE:
He spent his life hurting Christians, dragging them to prison, and holding people’s coats as others crushed them with stones (Acts 22:20). Then Paul met Jesus, the Plot Twist. Everything changed after that. God used him to write the majority of the New Testament and bring the Gospel to untold numbers. He suffered intense persecution for the name of Christ. And yet, Paul probably dealt with more guilt than you ever will.
Think about all the memories he had swirling around at any given moment. The coats, the voices of children screaming as their parents were ripped away, they sat in his mind waiting to reappear in a quiet moment along the road or late at night. He had to preach the Gospel to himself more than others.
“Stop it Paul,” he would say. “Leave it at the cross. The cross was enough. God makes all things work together for good for those that love Him and are called to His purpose.” His only hope was trusting in the God who is merciful toward our iniquities and remembers our sin no more. It kept him moving forward. He wrote,
“Not that I have obtained [completion] or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way…” Philippians 3:12-15
Forgetting wasn’t passive for Paul. Like God, it was something he chose to do. And it enabled him to press on. You, too, have a choice to make. Remember what lies behind and be paralyzed in guilt or bitterness. Or choose to believe that the cross was enough, and take the next step toward the goal.
Your life isn’t over yet, and the God of divine amnesia has made a way for you to live it abundantly (John 10:10). Leave your past at the cross, and experience how He can make sinful scars a beautiful reminder of the scars that healed us.