“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12 NIV).
“You can’t teach a Bible class with your background.” … “You, a missionary?” … “How dare you ask him to come to church. What if he finds out about the time you fell away?” … “Who are you to offer help?”
The ghost spews waspish words of accusation, deafening your ears to the promises of the cross. And it flaunts your failures in your face, blocking your vision of the Son and leaving you the shadow of a doubt.
Now, honestly. Do you think God sent that ghost? Do you think God is the voice that reminds you of the putridness of your past? Do you think God was teasing when he said, “I will remember your sins no more”? Was he exaggerating when he said he would cast our sins as far as the east is from the west? Do you actually believe he would make a statement like “I will not hold their iniquities against them” and then rub our noses in them whenever we ask for help?
Of course you don’t. You and I just need an occasional reminder of God’s nature, his forgetful nature. To love conditionally is against God’s nature. Just as it’s against your nature to eat trees and against mine to grow wings, it’s against God’s nature to remember forgiven sins.
You see, God is either the God of perfect grace … or he is not God. Grace forgets. Period. He who is perfect love cannot hold grudges. If he does, then he isn’t perfect love. And if he isn’t perfect love, you might as well put this book down and go fishing because both of us are chasing fairy tales.
But I believe in his loving forgetfulness. And I believe he has a graciously terrible memory.
Think about this. If he didn’t forget, how could we pray? How could we sing to him? How could we dare enter into his presence if the moment he saw us he remembered all our pitiful past? How could we enter his throne room wearing the rags of our selfishness and gluttony? We couldn’t.
And we don’t. Read this powerful passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians and watch your pulse rate. You’re in for a thrill. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal.3:27 RSC).
You read it right. We have “put on” Christ. When God looks at us he doesn’t see us; he sees Christ. We “wear” him. We are hidden in him; we are covered by him. As the song says, “Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”
Presumptuous, you say? Sacrilegious? It would be if it were my idea. But it isn’t; it’s his. We are presumptuous not when we marvel at his grace, but when we reject it. And we’re sacrilegious not when we claim his forgiveness, but when we allow the haunting sins of yesterday to convince us that God forgives but he doesn’t forget.
Do yourself a favor. Purge your cellar. Exorcise your basement. Take the Roman nails of Calvary and board up the door.
And remember … he forgot.
Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Second Chances.