Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Choosing not to Remember

 

 

No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34 NKJV)

 

Definition

The word remember is used in a number of ways.  Sometimes we say “remember the veterans” which means don’t forget them.  Sometimes we say that we are going to remember our veterans on November 11 which means that we are going to have a memorial service giving honor to them.  We can’t recall them to mind since we never met most of them but we can memorialize or honor them. 

 

We often remember things we ought to forget and we tend to forget things we ought to remember (like the names of people to whom we have been introduced). 

 

Sin of Israel as a Nation

In our passage today which is quoted twice in the Hebrew epistle, the Lord makes it clear that the nation of Israel did a lot of offensive things after they had been singled out as a holy people for the Lord’s glory.  They had been delivered from a nation that worshiped worthless idols.  Their deliverance had been miraculous and remarkable.  It was hardly unforgettable.  All that the Lord asked of them was to worship Him the way He wanted to be worshiped and to not turn aside to the idolatry of the people in the land of Canaan.  The Canaanites were being cast out of the land because of their idolatry and the ensuing immorality that went with that kind of worship.  God wanted Israel to be faithful to Him and to Him alone.  But the Israelite men found the women of Canaan attractive and the man-made worship of their man-made idols to be pleasurable to men and women alike even though at times that worship was extremely cruel. 

 

How could the Lord ever forgive a nation that had been so blessed, that had seen such miracles, that had been so miraculously delivered from Egyptian bondage, when they spurned Him?  He was the One who had proven Himself to be true and real and faithful to them.  How could He do that?  Frankly from a human stand point, I don’t know.  But He can and He will.  There is a day coming when the old sins of Israel will never be mentioned in God’s presence again.  It is not that He will have Alzheimer’s.  It will simply be His decision to forgive and to never remind Israel of their rebelliousness again.   I believe that day is still future, but it is a day that is coming.  He will simply “not remember” their sins any more.

 

Application to Us

I am sure that there are some things in each of our lives we would just as soon forget.  But when we get depressed, when things don’t go well for us, we find those things “come to our remembrance” and often haunt us.  We wish we could go back in some cases and do things over.  We remember.

 

There are some people who have bullied us and who have lied to us and who have taken advantage us of us.  Some of them have tried to make things right but most of them have not.  Since we are told to forgive if we want to have the kind of fellowship with the Lord where He will answer our prayers, we try to the best of our ability to put the past in the past and to forget.  But if you are like me, when we see some of those individuals, we find ourselves being haunted by their meanness.  Have we forgiven them properly.  Probably not.  Our justification usually is that we may have forgiven a person but we don’t trust them and we don’t want to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to their bullying and meanness again. In other words, we remember.

 

Application to the Lord

When we say we have forgiven, it is often by simply looking the other way and not because we have properly and righteously dealt with the harm others have done us.  However the Lord has loved us to the point where He has and can righteously forgive us.  He bore the punishment we deserved.  There is one sin he will remember however.  That is the sin of rejecting the righteous forgiveness He offers each one of us because of the cross.  When we reject Him, He says He will forget us forever.  A Christ rejecter will not be found in the Lamb’s book of life.  They will suffer eternally in a place where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.  They will be forgotten forever.  The Lord will not remember them. 

 

But for those of us who understand our sin, when we fail, we are told to confess our sin and He will be just in forgiving us.  And He does that over and over again because we fail over and over again.  Not that we should but we do.  And it is nice to know that the Lord forgives and never recalls forgiven sins to mind.  He does not have them written down since they have been blotted out of His book.  He has not built a monument to remind Him of them.  He does not remember.

 

Bruce Collins

 

Meditation for the week of November 18, 2018

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