It was just another regular morning when I put a call through to my husband TJ as he was driving to work to tell him something. We chatted for a good half hour, but I didn’t get to tell him what I had meant to until the final few hurried minutes when he had to go. Instead, we ended up talking about our own plans for the day, things we’d enjoyed together the day before, and reminiscing the times we spent in the car as we went to work together.
“Remember we used to grab breakfast at the food centre near your workplace when I dropped you off?” “Yeah, I remember.”
“I miss our conversations in the mornings. And listening to sermons together.”
“Um,” I reminded him, “I seem to recall that some of those conversations were more like arguments and discussions.”
“Well,” my husband countered, “those are not recorded in God’s record book, so we don’t need to remember them.”
What a wonderful reminder. And what a wonderful man of faith who keeps God’s grace and love close to his heart.
Who doesn’t remember mistakes? We can all recount with chagrin every painful detail of our greatest embarrassments or foul-ups in every stage of our lives. And sometimes to even greater detail the wrongs and hurts wrought upon us by others, be they family, friends, or foes.
And surely, more than our mothers and our spouses, more than even ourselves, God must be the One who knows ALL of our faults, hang-ups, mistakes, quirks, and sins, the big ones as well as the little ones. Well, He does. But He doesn’t remember them.
You see, back in the days of Moses, after the children of Israel came through the Red Sea that God opened up for them, they told God they could and would do everything God commanded them to. And God gave them the Ten Commandments – the big list of dos and don’ts that pretty much everyone’s heard of.
And along with the Big Ten came this condition: if they kept it, God would bless them and be with them in all their exploits; but if they broke even one, not only would they be cursed, but God would remember their sins to the 3rd and 4th generation. Meaning an innocent guy could suffer a curse – for example, in his body or in his relationships or business undertakings – for something bad that his great-grandfather did.
Sounds pretty harsh. Most of us, though, are familiar with this concept, either through religious or moral teachings. Call it what you will – karma, retribution, or something else, it’s basically the idea that we will get good if we (or our ancestors) do good, and we’ll get bad if we (or our ancestors) do bad. That’s the system of the law. And most of us, through one way or another, have been hardwired over the years to accept that that’s the way the world and cosmos operates. So much so that we sometimes think that that’s how God still operates today.
Enter Jesus. For 1500 years after God gave the law, the children of Israel simply kept failing and failing, time and time again. In fact, God already knew before He gave the law that man would never be able to keep it, so He provided a way out for them through blood sacrifices of unblemished bulls and goats to atone for and cover their sins, something that He instituted the moment He gave the law. But God would ultimately come Himself, in the Person of His Son Jesus, to be the one perfect and everlasting sacrifice for ALL sins, for ALL time.
None of us are free from sin. We all know that, inherently. Not just actions or words that hurt others, but inward desires that are wrong, thoughts that are offensive and immoral. We’ll never be able to do enough good deeds to make up for and surpass our bad deeds, not only because we’ll never know how many is enough, but simply because good deeds cannot remove bad deeds. Payment for sin requires blood.
That’s justice. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. And God is just. And because God is also holy, it can’t be just any blood. It has to be innocent blood. And there’s only One who ever walked perfect and blameless – Jesus, God Himself.
And because God is also love, He came and He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, so that all who accept His sacrifice on their behalf would be spared from the judgement of the law.
Today, when we come under the covering of Jesus’s perfect and sinless blood by accepting His sacrifice for us, His blood washes away and cleanses everything bad about us and makes us once and forever perfect and good in God’s eyes, because we are now in Him forever.
How do we know that God doesn’t remember our wrongs today? Well, He tells us, in a number of places:
Through the prophet Isaiah – “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)
On the new covenant and system He made upon Jesus – “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
And He repeats – “…their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17)
And not just that, He actually shows us examples from people’s lives. In Hebrews 11, God lists the great men of Israel used by God and their deeds of faith in full glory. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samson. His chapter recording their faith and glory never mentioned that Abraham lied, Jacob cheated, Moses was fearful, and Samson lusted, even though they did.
So in Christ, your wrongs are not in God’s record book.
Receiving Jesus is not taking up a religion; it’s coming into a relationship with a loving God.
Because when we encounter Jesus, we encounter grace.