Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Table of Divine Forgetting

I, even I, am He who blots our your transgression for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.
(Isaiah 43:25)
This is a matter of covenant. “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant” (Jeremiah 31:31). It is a new covenant, and not like the old one He made with Israel, “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers … My covenant which they broke” (v. 32). The old covenant depended upon human behavior and was broken because of Israel’s disobedience. The new covenant is different:
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 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. (vv. 33-34)
The new covenant is a better one based on better promises (Hebrews 8:6). It is not a law engraved on tables of stone but one implanted in the heart. In this covenant, we can each know God personally and intimately. It is a covenant in which God not only forgives all our iniquity, but also forgets them — He remembers them no more. What He forgives, He forgets, and no longer responds to us according to sin. He does away with it.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:10-12)

He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:19)
God’s forgiveness does not mean that our sin is overlooked, but that it has been dealt with. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, but He did deal with Jesus according to our sins. Jesus lifted them from us and carried them far away. This happened at the cross, where He suffered the cost of our iniquity in our place. There He “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us” and has “taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). He was prosecuted in our place, and the judgment that stood against us because of sin was wiped out and taken out of the way. Gone and forgotten.

When we come to the Table of the Lord, Jesus has no recollection of our sin. He does not rub our noses in the wrongs we have done: “See what put Me on the cross and caused Me to shed My blood.” It does not figure into His thinking. No, His Table is the Table of Divine Forgetting. There we see only Him, and ourselves in Him, and He sees only us, clean and righteous in Him.

As we approach the Table of the Lord, there may be many things that trouble us, and a great awareness of sins we have committed. Confess them to the Lord. That is, agree with Him that they are wrong and ought not to be in our lives. The promise is that He is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Not just forgiven, but also cleansed of it all. Forgotten.

The Table of the Lord is also a place where we learn to forgive and forget those things that have been done against us by others. This is not an option, but a requirement, as the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that our Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). This may seem a hard thing for many, but if we are in Jesus, and He is in us, then if He can forget, we also can forget.

It is important to forget those things that are behind, whether sins we have committed or wrongs done against us, so that we may move forward into the destiny God has for us. Paul said, “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

The Table of the Lord is the Table of Divine Forgetting.