Does God Ever Forget?
Does God forget sin?

Anyone other than me find themselves becoming a little more forgetful as they get older?

It happens, doesn’t it? The same weakness we saw in our parents and grandparents (and chuckled at!) is now showing up in us. And if you haven’t experienced this yet, no worries…it will happen!

Forgetfulness. It’s a human foible. But is it one God shares with us?

Some people say yes. They say God forgets our sin because of the forgiveness we have in Jesus. They cite verses such as:

  • “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” ~ Isaiah 43:25
  • “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” ~ Hebrews 8:12
  • “Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” ~ Hebrews 10:17

But is not remembering the same as forgetting? Maybe for people, but not for God. God is not like a doddering old grandfather with a faulty memory.

Whenever the Bible refers to God remembering, it has nothing to do with a poor memory. He is perfect and omniscient—He knows everything.

When the Bible says God remembers, it means God is ready to act.

Consider these examples of verses that talk about God remembering:

  • “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.” ~ Genesis 8:1
  • “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.” ~ Genesis 30:22
  • “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” ~ Exodus 2:24

So when God “forgets” our sin, it means He will not act on them. He will not hold them against us. He will not pour His wrath on us. And He will not judge and condemn us.

Why? Because Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath so we would not have to.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” ~ Romans 5:8-9

When God “blots out our sins” He covers them with His Son’s blood, sacrificed for us. He doesn’t forget our sin. How could He? If He “forgot” our sin, then He’d have to forget the reason for Jesus’s sacrificial death.

An infinite, perfect, omniscient God forgets nothing.

A holy, righteous, just God requires payment for sin.

And a merciful, compassionate, and gracious God provides that payment.

The result is that there is now no sin for Him to act on—to “remember”—because everything that needed to be done was done at the Cross.

Those who put their full faith and trust in Christ are clean in God’s sight…as clean as His Son, Jesus.

That’s why King David could say with confidence in Psalm 18:20-24:

“The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
    and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his rules were before me,
    and his statutes I did not put away from me.
I was blameless before him,
    and I kept myself from my guilt.
So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.”

Despite all his sin, David knew, in God’s sight, he was righteous. And Christians can say the same thing.

It’s all about amazing grace. Intentional grace. Grace that provides a right standing before God even though we don’t deserve it. Grace that enables us to say with David, I’m righteous in His sight.

Not forgetfulness. Grace.

May we never confuse them.

*All verses are quoted from the English Standard Version (ESV).


Queering God?

God's character

Just when I think our culture can’t shock me any more than it has…

it does.

When you consider God’s character – the character of the God of the Bible, which of these descriptions come closest to your belief?

  • God is the supreme creator of the universe.
  • He’s one god among many gods.
  • God is a fable or myth believed by ignorant people.

I recently learned of yet another proposed view of God’s character and nature. Two college courses in particular attempt to label God’s character in a way that leaves me

concerned

alarmed

shocked

angry

sad

furious

and brokenhearted.

Swarthmore College is an institution of higher learning founded by the Quakers in 1864. U.S News & World Report ranked Swarthmore in a three-way tie as #3 of all national liberal arts colleges.

But this school seems to have departed from its origins. And in doing so, from a traditional biblical perspective it has entered dangerous spiritual territory.

Swarthmore now offers two courses that challenge traditional biblical Christianity in an extreme way.

The first class, named “Queering the Bible,” “destabilizes long held assumptions about what the bible–and religion–says about gender and sexuality.” That’s not my opinion, that’s the stated goal in the school course catalog. And they don’t want to simply disagree with what the Bible says, they assert that they want to “destabilize” it.

The second class, called “Queering God,” “seeks to stretch the limits of gendering-and sexing-the divine” as noted in their course catalog.

Destabilize what the Bible says? Stretch the limits of gendering and sexing God? Seriously?

I’m angry at how they treat the God of the universe. Still, I know He does not need me to defend Him. He knows the heart and will respond to every person in accordance with what He has said in His word.

I’m also brokenhearted for the students who attend these classes. Students who will be misled by those who claim to speak with authority. Students whose view of their Creator will be molded and confirmed at a young age and will shape their lives for decades to come.

I’m also confounded that those in our culture who persist in mocking, and work to “destabilize,” Christianity rarely, if ever, attempt similar action against other world religions.

The fact that the world continues to target the God of the Bible and the Christians who believe in Him is quite telling. The logical conclusion is that people attack what they feel threatened by the most. They don’t attack fables and myths with the vehemence many reserve for the God who they claim is a fable or myth.

But even as I write this, my anger is seeping away, replaced by deep sorrow. The consequences of their actions will far outweigh my own individual offense. God’s character is revealed in His Word. Someday, they will stand before the One who created the universe. May they come to know Him as Savior before they have to face Him as Judge.


Not Just a Fish Tale

Ever been told a fish tale? You know, a story about “the one that got away.” With every telling of the story, the fish gets bigger and bigger.

When it comes to the Bible, the book of Jonah is maligned as a “fish tale” by those who don’t believe the Bible. The biggest fish that got away. Even among Christians, Jonah is often relegated to the status of a children’s Sunday school story.

But Jesus referred to Jonah’s experience as an actual historical event:

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

WhaleDespite the title, many don’t realize the focus of the book of Jonah is not really about the prophet Jonah.

It’s also not about the great fish that swallowed him.

It’s not even about Ninevah, the capital city of the Assyrians where Jonah was sent.

The book of Jonah is about the nature of God.

The events in this book are clear:

  1. Jonah is given a command by God.
  2. Jonah disobeyed God’s command and runs away.
  3. Jonah is restrained by a great fish.
  4. Jonah repents of his disobedience.
  5. Jonah is recommissioned to go to Ninevah.
  6. Jonah resents God’s compassion toward the Ninevites.

But the events are merely a backdrop for revelations about the nature of God. Consider these names and attributes of God. He is:

  • Adonai – a Master to be obeyed
  • Father – a parent who lovingly disciplines His child
  • Forgiving – He forgives all who repent
  • Sovereign – His purposes will always prevail
  • Holy – sinners must repent or be judged
  • Merciful – He extends mercy toward the vilest sinners
  • Gracious – even when Jonah demanded justice, God extended grace.

The account of the prophet Jonah may be a fish tale to unbelievers. It may even be a misunderstood story by some Christians. But as we see the characteristics of God revealed in its pages, we gain a deeper appreciation of His nature and His ways.

Read the book of Jonah for yourself. It’s only four chapters. As you read it, how many characteristics of God can you identify?