Thoughts to Ponder

I don't remember!

Many people will give lip service to the fact that God has forgiven them for their sins, but yet they often visit the memories of those forgiven sins. I think this is natural to some extent. I know I would give anything to be able to go back and change some of the evil things I did in the past. Yet I realize that I cannot change what I did 30 seconds ago much less what I did 12, 15 or 20 years ago. It is humanly impossible to change the past.

I have remorse for those sins that I committed in the past, but I refuse to beat myself up for something that I have no control over at this point in my life. I put the past behind me and ask God to help me to never commit those sins again.

What I want to look at is how does God react to our constantly bringing up the past? Does He want us to continue to recall our sins and feel guilty about them? Is it God who brings them to our mind in the first place? Or is it Satan that keeps our past in front of our faces and if so why?

A distinction needs to be made here. I am talking about sins from our past which have been confessed, repented from and from which we have turned. Sin which is hidden and not confessed to God, may very well be brought to our mind by the Holy Spirit, this is not what I am talking about.

Our final and ultimate authority and reference should always be God's Word, so let's take a look at what it says about how God forgives sin.

(Psalms 103:11-12 NIV) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; {12} as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (emphasis added)

(Hebrews 8:12 NIV) For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (emphasis added)

(Micah 7:18-19 NIV) Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. {19} You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (emphasis added)

(Ezekiel 18:21-22 NIV) "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. {22} None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. (emphasis added)

(Ezekiel 33:14-16 NIV) And if I say to the wicked man, 'You will surely die,' but he then turns away from his sin and does what is just and right-- {15} if he gives back what he took in pledge for a loan, returns what he has stolen, follows the decrees that give life, and does no evil, he will surely live; he will not die. {16} None of the sins he has committed will be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he will surely live. (emphasis added)

(Hebrews 10:11-17 NIV) Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. {12} But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. {13} Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, {14} because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. {15} The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: {16} "This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." {17} Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." (emphasis added)

God says that when He forgives our sins He will never remember them again. He will never bring them back up. So we can bank on the fact that it is not God who is bringing up the past all the time. Maybe it is you, maybe you have had a hard time putting it behind you, or maybe it is Satan.

Satan has reason to throw your sin in your face. If he can get you to focus on the past you are taking your focus off of Christ. If you have read any of my recent articles you are probably tired of hearing me talking about people taking their eyes off Christ, but I believe that is what Satan is trying to get us to do with all these areas he is involved in. Remember when Jesus was walking on the water and Peter asked Him if it was really Him to let Peter come to Him on the water? Peter was able to walk on the water until he "took his eyes off of Jesus." Now Peter took his eyes off because of doubt, but no mater what the reason I think the result is the same, we start to sink.

Satan cannot snatch you out of Christ's hand. He cannot take your salvation away from you, but I don't think that ever crossed his mind. I believe that what he is trying to do is get you so busy worrying about your past that you are not an effective witness to those around you. So in effect he is taking salvation away from those unbelievers around you by attacking you. (Romans 10:14 NIV) How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Satan is called our accuser: (Revelation 12:10 NIV) Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. He accuses us day and night before God. If God was not faithful to His word that would scare me to death, because all the things Satan is accusing me of I did commit. But praise be to our God, He is faithful and so when Satan accuses a Christian of a sin they committed which has been washed by the Blood of the Lamb, I believe God is going to tell Satan: "It was paid for by my Son and I choose not to remember it any longer"

If we have already confessed our sin and been forgiven and we go back to God and want to repeatedly ask for forgiveness for the same thing, don't you think He is going to tell you the same thing? "I choose not to remember that, so why are you bringing it up?"

I think sometimes Christians enjoy wallowing around in the mud of the past. They want to feel bad about things they cannot do anything about because they feel that somehow that makes them more righteous. Well it doesn't, our righteousness comes through Christ alone. We should look to the future and strive to sin no more and to serve our Lord and Savior daily.

You have been snatched from the jaws of death, let your life and your face show it! The King of the Universe, the Creator of all things, God Almighty has saved you with His hand, not by anything that you have done so that no one can boast.

So when your past comes to mind, first search your heart to see if this is something which you have hidden and if so, confess it to God, but if it is something that has already been forgiven, forget it and praise God for your salvation. You became a new creation at the foot of the cross and the past is gone: (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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