WHEN GOD FORGETS
Does God forget about our sins after they have been genuinely confessed and repented of, and we have been forgiven? Many people believe that He does, but I say that He does not. Let me explain. Because He is God, He does not forget. However, there will be a time when God will most definitely forget about our confessed sins and will not hold them against us ever again.
Many of Jesus' parables start out with "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto..." Matthew 13:24, for example, says "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seeds in his field." Another parable says "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed" and still another parable says "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man seeking goodly pearls."
By reading these short parables, we get a glimpse of what the kingdom of heaven is like and the principles that are in place. This Bible study is based on the parable of Jesus found in Matthew 18:23-35 which likened the kingdom of heaven unto a certain king. Here's the complete text.
"23. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
"25. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
"26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
"27. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
"28. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
"29. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
"30. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
"31. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
"32. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
"33. Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
"34. And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
"35. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
In this parable the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him his debt. Though he granted forgiveness, he did not forget about the debt for later on when he found out that this wicked servant did not exercise the same compassionate and forgiving spirit that was manifested to him, he was wroth and cancelled the forgiveness that he, in mercy and compassion, had granted previously. Now, the wicked servant was delivered to the tormentors till he should pay all that he owed. Once forgiven, always forgiven? Not so!
There are two things worth noting about this parable. Number one, it teaches a valuable lesson about compassion and forgiveness, and number two, it teaches us something about an attribute of God, that is, while He loves us and forgives us of our sins, He does not forget about them, at least not just yet.
The time is coming when all our sins will be blotted out completely from the records in Heaven and will be forgotten forever--even by God--forgotten in the sense that He will not hold our sins against us ever again. "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jer 31:34.
When will God 'forget' about our sins? In Acts 3:19-21 we read: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."
There is a difference between having our sins forgiven and having them blotted out from the record books in heaven. In the texts above, you will notice that the blotting out of sins occurs in the future. When the times of refreshing shall come, God shall send Jesus Christ to this earth. Notice also that before Jesus returns to this earth, a restitution of all things which God hath spoken through his holy prophets since the world began needs to happen.
There are many things that were spoken by God through his prophets that have been breached, compromised, adulterated, abolished, desecrated that would need to be restored to the way there were in the beginning. God's people are the repairers of the breach. "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." Isa 58:12.
For this Study, I will mention only three of the seven divine institutions given in Genesis that need to be restored to the way they were in the Garden of Eden. These are: Marriage, the Sabbath, and Diet.
The marriage institution as we know it today is a far cry from the way it was in the beginning. Marriage was instituted by God in the Garden of Eden. It was a commitment involving a "till death do us part" vow. In New Testament times, when the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause, Jesus did not point them back to the time of their forefathers and what they had believed concerning divorce and remarriage, plural wives and concubines. Instead, He pointed them back to the very beginning. Let's read this account in Matthew 19:1-9.
"1. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
"2. And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
"3. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
"4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
"5. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
"6. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
"7. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
"8. He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
"9. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
Because of the hardness of their hearts and their proneness to rebellion, the Israelites were permitted certain things that were not for their good. In Ezekiel 20:24, 25 we read: "Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols, Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good and judgment whereby they should not live." Before the permission was granted to write a bill of divorcement, the marriage vow was always "till death do us part" under all circumstances.
The Sabbath was instituted by God in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden where the only people present were Adam and Eve. Therefore, the Sabbath, a memorial of creation, is not a Jewish institution to be kept by the Jews only, but God's institution to be kept holy by all who claim to be His. The Sabbath was made for man. Mk 2:27.
Exodus 20:8-12 - "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Isaiah 58:13,14 - "If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."
God's institution of the Sabbath has been desecrated and abrogated by man. See Home Page on Chain Bible Markings on the Sabbath subject and the Mark of the Beast.
Ezekiel 22:26 - "Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them."
But God will have a people who will cry aloud and spare not and lift up His downtrodden law. Before Jesus returns to this earth, the Sabbath institution will be restored to the way it was in the beginning. The Sabbath is commemorated at sunset Friday through sunset Saturday. "...from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." Lev 23:32.
Diet is another divine institution that has been so woefully adulterated. When God created man, He knew what diet was best suited for him. Genesis 1:29 outlines the diet God gave man in the beginning. "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."
Today, man eats practically everything that moves citing 1 Timothy 4:4 as the basis for doing so. The text in 1 Timothy says that "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." People usually stop right here. But notice what the next verse says: "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." I want you to notice the words I underlined above. Not all flesh were sanctified and blessed by God for food. He did not sanctify and bless foods that He strictly prohibited in Leviticus, Chapter 11. In this chapter, God gave statutes concerning the eating of flesh. He classified flesh foods as clean and unclean. The unclean animals are not to be eaten under any circumstances. This includes swine, oysters, clams, crabs, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, eagles, buzzards, frogs, etc.
Noah was instructed by God to take into the ark seven of the clean animals and only two of the unclean. When vegetation was destroyed from the earth during the Flood, Noah and his family were given permission to eat of the clean animals until vegetation should flourish once again. Unfortunately, man did not return to the original diet after the Flood, and subsisting on flesh foods had brought not only health problems upon man, but shortened his life span considerably. The prophet Ezekiel was right when he said "they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean..." This was reiterated in 2 Cor 6:17-18.
Please note that the statutes concerning the clean and unclean flesh were given to the Israelites because of the hardness of their hearts. In the Wilderness, they lusted for the flesh pots of Egypt, and God gave them what they desired. "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul." Ps 106:15. As with Marriage, God gave them statutes that were not for their good because of their rebelliousness. See Eze 20:24, 25. But before Jesus returns to this earth, there will be a people who will lift up God's law concerning diet--the diet He gave in the beginning, and the diet the redeemed will subsist on in Heaven and in the New Earth.
But what about Acts, Chapter 10? Didn't God give permission to eat unclean animals--animals that the Apostle Peter and others never touched? Click here to read about The Apostle Peter's Vision and what it means.
Marriage, the Sabbath, and Diet are just three of the divine institutions that God had ordained in the very beginning that have been desecrated, adulterated, abrogated. These institutions would be restored back to their rightful place--the way they were in the beginning--not by the world for it rejected Him, but by His people, His Church.
When all the things that God hath spoken through the mouths of His holy prophets since the world began have been restored to the way they were in the beginning, Jesus will come to this earth. Before I jump right in to the topic of blotting out of sins, the time when God forgets all about our sins, I would need to discuss a little bit about the heavenly sanctuary because that's where the blotting out of sins will occur.
Many people in religious circles do not really understand the importance of the subject of the sanctuary. They feel that because we are in New Testament dispensation all the sanctuary stuff belongs in Leviticus and does not pertain to them and besides, it's a dry subject, so why bother? Yet, the subject of the sanctuary is very important. In Psalm 77:13 we read: "Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?" God's way is in the heavenly sanctuary. If we want to walk in God's way, we'd better know about the heavenly sanctuary where Jesus, our High Priest, today is officiating in our behalf.
To understand what's going on in the heavenly sanctuary as they relate to us today, we need to understand what went on in the earthly sanctuary. There are parallels, and every little detail has spiritual significance in the antitype. By understanding what went on in the type, we will understand more clearly the sin problem, the atonement, and how God is going to solve the sin problem once and for all.
Remember that the earthly sanctuary was a replica of the sanctuary in heaven. Every little detail of the heavenly sanctuary was given to Moses to reproduce in the earthly sanctuary where God promised to dwell with man. The parts of the sanctuary are: the court yard and the two compartments. In the court yard, there were the altar of burnt offerings, the laver and the sanctuary building itself. The court yard fence was made of white linen supported by 60 pillars. Inside the Holy Place, there were three pieces of furniture--the table of shewbread, the seven branch candlestick, and the altar of incense. In the Most Holy Place, there was only one piece of furniture--the ark of the covenant. The cover was called the mercy seat. On it were carved angels of gold. Here, between the angels, dwell the presence of God. Inside the ark were the ten commandments written on tables of stone. The ark demonstrated both mercy and law. The law must be kept but God provides mercy for His people who break it.
When a person sinned he brought a sacrificial animal to the priest. He confessed his sins over the head of the animal then slew it with his own hands. The priest sprinkled some of the blood on the horns of the altar of burnt offerings and a portion of its flesh was eaten by the priest, (Lev 6:25-30). In the sin offering for the congregation as a whole blood was sprinkled on the veil by the priest and put on the horns of the altar of incense. Sin was thus transferred, in figure, from the sinner to the animal substitute and then to the sanctuary. This demonstrates how Jesus becomes my substitute before the Father when I accept His blood in my behalf. When I confess my sin, it is transferred, in fact, from me to the Lamb of God and to the heavenly sanctuary for ultimate blotting out.
There was no virtue in the blood of a lamb to atone for sin. Faith in Jesus' sacrifice to come was the key. They looked forward to the cross as we look backward to Christ is represented by the lamb that dies as my substitute and also by the priest who lives as my High Priest in heaven. Both symbols are necessary to represents Jesus' ministry. His sacrifice paid for my sins. His present ministry restores me to His image. Both are essential. Neither is ample alone.
In addition to the daily services, once each year the high priest entered the Most Holy Place to cleanse the sanctuary, Lev 16:29-34; Heb 9:7. The sins of the people were transferred all year long by their sacrifices to the sanctuary. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) two goats were chosen, one as the scapegoat, the other as the Lord's goat. The Lord's goat was slain and its blood taken into the Most Holy Place, accomplishing the work of cleansing. Then the priest put the sins on the scapegoat, who was led into the wilderness to die. Lev 16.
The Lord's goat represents Jesus, who is our atonement, substitute and example. The scapegoat, who represented Satan, was separated from God's people forever. In like manner, after being arraigned in judgment at the close of the thousand years, Satan, his angels, and sin will be destroyed and thus banished forever from the universe.
The Day of Atonement was a day of judgment. If sins were confessed prior to that day the people were saved. If not, they were cut off from among God's people. Their doom was sealed, Lev 23:27-30. It was a day of heartfelt confession, repentance and earnest prayer.
Today, we are living in the 'antitypical day of atonement'--a day for heartfelt confession, repentance and earnest prayer. Jesus is in His holy temple, and will now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions of faults and sins, and will pardon all the transgressions of His people, that they may be blotted out before He leaves the sanctuary to come to this earth.
"The time is short. How will our cases appear in the Judgment? What is now our standing before God? Are we closely examining our own hearts? Are we by repentance and confession sending our sins beforehand to Judgment, that they may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come? This is an individual work,--a work which we cannot safely delay. We should take hold of it earnestly; our salvation depends upon our sincerity and zeal. Let the cry be awakened in every heart, 'What must I do to be saved?'" --Review and Herald, August 28, 1883 par. 20.
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19.
"Today you are to give yourself to God, that you may be emptied of self, emptied of envy, jealousy, evil surmising, strife, everything that shall be dishonoring to God. Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord--fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit...
"All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of Heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life. The Lord declares, by the prophet Isaiah, 'I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.' Isaiah 43:25. Said Jesus, 'He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.' 'Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven.' Rev. 3:5; Matt. 10:32, 33." --The Great Controversy, page 483.
"As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected. When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God's remembrance..."--Faith I Live By, page 212.2.
"All sin unrepented of and unconfessed will remain upon the books of record. It will not be blotted out, it will not go beforehand to judgment, to be canceled by the atoning blood of Jesus. The accumulated sins of every individual will be written with absolute accuracy, and the penetrating light of God's law will try every secret of darkness. In proportion to the light, to the opportunities, and the knowledge of God's claims upon them will be the condemnation of the rejecters of God's mercy." --That I Might Know Him, page 359.4.
"Then Jesus ceases His intercession in the sanctuary above. He lifts His hands and with a loud voice says, 'It is done,' and all the angelic host lay off their crowns as He makes the solemn announcement: 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still' (Rev. 22:11). Every case has been decided for life or death. Christ has made the atonement for His people and blotted out their sins. The number of His subjects is made up; 'the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven' (Dan. 7:27), is about to be given to the heirs of salvation, and Jesus is to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords." --YRP, page 160.
"When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God's longsuffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn." --The Great Controversy, pp. 613, 614.
"The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are 'the times of refreshing' to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: 'Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.' Acts 3:19, 20." --The Great Controversy, page 611.3 through 612.
"The work of the investigative judgment and the blotting out of sins is to be accomplished before the second advent of the Lord. Since the dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books, it is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out until after the judgment at which their cases are to be investigated...When the investigative judgment closes, Christ will come, and His reward will be with Him to give to every man as his work shall be." --Maranatha, page 251.1.
In the great day of final award, the dead are to be "judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Rev 20:12.
What standard is used in the Judgment? James 2:12 says "So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." The law of liberty mentioned here is none other than the Moral Law of God, the Ten Commandments. Verse 11 lists the various precepts of this law.
"In the typical service the high priest, having made the atonement for Israel, came forth and blessed the congregation. So Christ, at the close of His work as mediator, will appear, 'without sin unto salvation,' to bless His waiting people with eternal life. As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. The scapegoat, bearing the sins of Israel, was sent away 'unto a land not inhabited'; so Satan, bearing the guilt of all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit, will be for a thousand years confined to the earth, which will then be desolate, without inhabitant, and he will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the wicked." --Maranatha, page 251.3.
Remember the wicked will be not be resurrected until after the 1000 years when they, Satan, and sin will be consumed by the fires of the last day; they will be ashes under the feet of the redeemed in the earth made new. Mal 4:3.
"Glorious will be the reward bestowed when the faithful workers gather about the throne of God and of the Lamb. When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead; he was not able to endure the sight. But when the children of God shall have put on immortality, they will 'see him as he is' (1 John 3:2). They will stand before the throne, accepted in the Beloved. All their sins have been blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory of the throne of God. They have been partakers with Christ in His sufferings, they have been workers together with Him in the plan of redemption, and they are partakers with Him in the joy of seeing souls saved in the kingdom of God, there to praise God through all eternity...
"In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son. The angels, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King and His trophies of victory...A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts, accompanied by His redeemed ones, the witnesses that His mission of suffering and sacrifice has not been in vain..." --God's Amazing Grace, page 355.1 through 355.3.
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa. 1:18).
"I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:34.
Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet Midi