Oswald Chambers said: “The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the Gospel of God. He welcomed heart-breaks, disillusionments, tribulation, for one reason only, because these things kept him in unmoved devotion to the Gospel of God.”
And that provoked me to asked if I am unmoved in my devotion to my Lord? I would like to believe that I am. For as long as I can remember, I knew that “Jesus loves me” and if at any time in my life I had been stopped and asked, I would have affirmed that I knew this without doubt.
But as I as I look back on the journey of my life, my enemy invariably reminds me of some dark days of disobedience. Times, occasions, incidents, actions and, regretfully, periods of my life that I will not tell you or anyone else about. They are both shameful and still painful to me. And praise God, they are forgiven. But oh, how I long to have them as erased from my mind and memory as they are from God’s eyes, covered by the blood of sweet forgivness. Yet they creep in and accuse me afresh. And I waste my time and God’s in confessing what only I remember.
I would ask myself, ‘How many times must I confess and repent of some sin, fault or failure?’ I kn0w fully the frustration of the Biblical “70 times 7” in Jesus answer to Peter. Until one day I asked that question of my Lord. I did not hear an audible voice but there came an answer impressed upon my heart. I do not want to accuse the Eternal Holy God of frivolous or non-Shakespearian English, but He seemed to be saying to me: “What is this that you keep telling me about? I don’t remember it.”
And so I began turned to those Scriptures which declare that God has forgotten my sin when He forgive and cleansed it. Hebrews 10:17, gives a declaration repeated from Old Testament writings “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17 KJV)
Only reading the verse itself reveals that He did not say “I forgot”. Certainly this would present a problem for the theologians regarding God’s omniscience, His ability to know everything. And it gives me a problem as well. If God is ‘forgetful’, if He forgets things as significant as a sinful act that caused the agonizing death of Jesus on a torturous cross, what will keep Him from remembering His promises to us?
He has declared in Hebrews 6:10 that He does not forget our good deeds. To forget them or fail to remember them or ignore them would be unrighteous of the part of the Holy One.
And so I read Hebrews 10:17 again. God did not say that He forgets my sin. But in His grace He has chosen to remember it no more. You do not have to be a Greek scholar (thankfully) to get a clear explanation of His meaning here. Just look at the words: ‘forget’ or ‘remember not.’ A Bible dictionary gives insight into the difference.
God did not say “I forgot”, but He declared that He has deliberately chosen NOT to bring it to His mind! He refuses to dwell on it. He will never bring it up again to Himself or to me.
So I ask myself, from which area of my enemies’ territory does it come? The world, the flesh or the Devil.
Do these regrets and condemnations come from this world system? I don’t think so. This world either laughs at sin, makes a mockery of such behavior, or it makes a Hollywood movie or small screen production and glamorizes it. And we allow ourselves to be trapped into the very thing that Romans 1:32 warns us against. We not only entertain ourselves by watching it, reading it or listening to it, we support it. We cover the cost when we pay to sit in padded comfort and eat popcorn while we indulge.
Do these memories come from the Devil? My first inclination, and I suppose yours as well, is to point our finger at the “Accuser of our Brethren,” as Revelation 12:10 identifies Satan. But I have an idea that Satan, though not omniscient is at least smart enough to know that won’t get anywhere with God. It only accomplishes his purpose with us. It torments me when I fall for this tactic. It brings me again into the bondage of condemnation.
Since I do not have the ability to ‘forget’ these citations of faults and failures, I should probably most often confess that they come from my own sinful human nature! And if I want victory and deliverance, I must apply the Biblical remedy.
When these disgusting sins force their way into my conscious memory and Satan notices and begins to use them to beat me up, I must run for refuge to THE BOOK. I need to quote to him Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit!” I must obey 2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations. . . and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
I must make a conscious, deliberate effort not to bring into my mind these things. I must instead focus my mind, direct it to “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)
In other words KEEP YOU NOSE IN THE BOOK!