God does not remember me the same way I remember me. God does not remember you the same way you remember you. Recently these words in Psalm 25:6-7 touched my heart, “Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.”
It is so easy to remember our failures. There are previous sins that can still weigh heavy on us. Stuff we are ashamed of can come back to our memory. But is that how God remembers us?
Is God trudging up old sins? Is God in agreement with your assessment of your past?
The advantage we have over David here (the writer of Psalm 25), is that we know the rest of the story. We know that Jesus died in our place and chooses not to remember our sins. He will not hold those sins over us. “As far as the east is from the west,” another Psalm tells us, “So far as he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). God has separated our sin from us.
It may be challenging for us to separate someone from their sin, but that is not difficult for God. God can remember us, yet not see that sin that once defined us. How is that possible? Back to Psalm 25. “According to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.”
God is so good and so full of loyal love He can remember us differently than we remember ourselves. Hebrews reminds us that “God will remember our sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12). In other words, God will never call our sins to mind.
Then is there any good reason to call our sins to mind? Are we supposed to remember our sins from our past? That depends. If we remember them for a deeper appreciation of God’s grace, then it has a beneficial place in our life. There are places in Scripture that speak to remembering what we were like before we were saved. For example, Paul writes, “Remember that formerly you who were Gentiles by birth…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ…but now in Christ Jesus you once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ “(Ephesians 2:11-13).
If our remembering draws us closer to Christ and more grateful for what He has done for us, then that kind of remembering can be good. But if our remembering drags us down or leads us to shame or leaves us paralyzed or stuck, then it is destructive. For Paul writes elsewhere, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
Are there sins of your past that bring you shame? Has your trust in Christ for salvation covered those sins? Then you are forgiven. You are set free. God remembers you differently than you remember yourself.
Has some failure in the past kept you from serving? Are you paralyzed by indecision right now because you remember how something similar in the past turned out so horribly bad? Is your memory of some incident in your past that shaped your identity holding your back right now from living out your identity in Christ? God does not remember you that way!
Child of God, reaffirm who you are in Christ! You are free from condemnation in Christ. You are who God says you are and not who you (or others) say you are!
All because of His grace, Pastor Brian
The Weekly Epistle 5/17/23