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FAITH: Understanding one of the misunderstood scriptures

Karen Stevens

Micah 7:19 – “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Some versions state the last line like this: “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

Most Christians read this scripture and think, “God will never remember my sins again.”

What it means is God will not hold our sins against us.  The passages make it evident that God does not remember our sins.  However, God’s “not remembering” is not what we usually think of as forgetfulness.  God knows everything, and He forgets nothing because He is omniscient.  However, He can choose not to remember something.

In Isaiah 43:25 – “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins”.

Keep in mind this is all from the Old Testament.  And unlike the sacrifices that were continually offered for sins, Jesus paid for sin once.  His payment was complete.

Hebrews 10:14–18 states, “For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”  When the Israelites disobeyed God, it was if the Israelites were stating they did not want to be in Gods family, so even though the Israelites were going to the Priest and offering blood sacrifices, and asking for forgiveness of sins; God still remembered their idolatry.  It wasn’t a true “asking for forgiveness” therefore the blood sacrifice did not cover the sin.  God punished the Israelites throughout the Old Testament due to what He called “a stiff neck people”.  If you look up the definition of a “stiff necked person” it states – “haughty, stubborn.”  God made them wander in the desert for 40 years, they were held in captivity in Babylon for disobedience and idolatry.  They were not allowed to enter into the promise land due to lack of faith, and many other times the Bible tells us God punished them for being a stiff-necked people.

Christians today think that God won’t punish us for our sins, but that is not so.  God sent Jesus to die on the cross for the one great atonement for our sins.”  But sin has repercussions.  The question is to think that God would forget our sins completely is kind of farfetched.  Yes, He forgives us of those sins, but how would He know how to help us in our weakness’s if he has forgotten what they are?  We as parents see the mistakes our children make, and help them steer away from those mistakes the second, third, etc. time around.  I don’t think God would have these giant holes in his mind about us.

Let’s say God is thinking about us, and all the things we have done for the Kingdom.  Then He see’s these big gaps in His mind.  Does he say to Himself “Wow, there is a big gap in my mind, I must have blotted out a sin?”  No, He does not.

We are created in God’s image and we have the power to forgive our fellow Christian, and not hold it against them, without forgetting about it.  In human relationships we can choose to remember the offenses someone has committed against us, or we can choose to forget.  To forgive someone, we must often put painful memories out of our minds.  We don’t actually forget the sin, and it’s not that we are unable to recall the offense, but we choose to overlook it.  Forgiveness prevents us from dwelling on past troubles.

And don’t forget Psalms 103:13 – “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”

And Psalm 103:17 – “But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.”

Take note of the part where it says “for those who fear him”.  When you were a child and you did wrong, you feared what would happen to you when your parents found out.  You feared the scolding, the spanking, the grounding, the disappointment, or whatever you knew your parents had in store for you.  It did not make your parents love you less, and they did not hold it against you, but it did give them insight on if you were a rebellious child, or a onetime only thing.

So, just as you would try not to do things against your parents wishes, fear God in the same way.

You want Him to be proud of you.  Do things that will accomplish that goal.

Karen Y. Stevens, Executive Director for Meals on Wheels