By Lutheran Hour Ministries
Psalm 103:10-12 - He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 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.
It is no surprise that God remembers. He is God, after all, our all-knowing, almighty Creator, who says, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). God remembered—and fulfilled—His covenant promise, sending His Anointed One, the long-awaited Messiah, His only Son. Yet Scripture also assures us that there are some things, surprisingly enough, that God does not remember. "I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:25). His new covenant is a covenant of forgetting: "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah ... I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:31b, 34b).
Our sins are washed away in Jesus' blood, the blood of that new covenant. God does not remember those sins or hold them against us, but all too often we remember them quite clearly. Our sins can loom large in our eyes. We become fearful, wondering if we are truly forgiven, even imagining that we cannot be forgiven. Will God hold certain sins against us, those sins we find so hard to forget? Perhaps He forgives everything else, but what about those sins of which we are so ashamed, the ones we have confessed but cannot forget? Doubts arise in our hearts and minds.
Our psalm assures us, "He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities." God deals with us, not according to our sins, but according to His grace. He sent His Son Jesus to be born among us, the Lamb who laid down His life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus shouldered that guilt that is so hard for us to lay aside. The "record of debt that stood against us" has been canceled, nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14). At the cross of Jesus, God canceled out our sins, not because we are worthy or deserving, but because His love for us is "as high as the heavens are above the earth." God removes our sins from us "as far as the east is from the west," distances that are beyond measure.
When we are tempted to dredge up the memory of our sins, we can turn to our Savior, and, through Him, we can measure the measureless love of God and determine the profound depths of His forgetfulness. His love is as wide and as tall as the rough-hewn cross once lifted up outside of Jerusalem. His forgetfulness concerning our sins is as deep and as dark as Easter's empty tomb.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, when we are troubled by sin and guilt, turn our hearts and minds to You, to the cross and empty tomb, and to Your measureless love. Amen.
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