Does God REALLY Forget Our Sins?

I keep driving by a local church that has one of those silly sayings on their church sign. Even though I’ve read it about five times now I still can’t quite remember it word for word, but the gist of the message is that God forgets our sins. This also reminds me of a certain Krystal Meyers song called “Beauty of Grace”. While it is a catchy little tune, there is one line in the song that says “the mistakes you’ve made…forgiven, the memories erased.” Without much serious study on the subject, I’m going to go ahead and say that this is a bit of stretch and maybe even an abuse of Scripture.

This subject is not really new to me because I remember being taught in Sunday School the same concept. When I was younger I was taught that God forgets our sins. We often hold on to our own sins, but God forgets them. So according to this Sunday school teacher, when we go to God with a sin we’ve already committed and God has already forgiven, we might say “God forgive us of our sin” and God will say “What sin?” cause he doesn’t remember it. It’s erased, as if it never happened.

The Scripture verse this concept is coming from is found in Jeremiah 31:2434 which says “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Ok, so the Bible does actually say God forgives sin and remembers it no more. But does this really mean that the all-knowing God actually forgets? Or, does it mean that God no longer holds the sin against us? Does it mean that he makes the choice to no longer remember it as something that is held against us or does it actually get erased from his memory where He no longer remembers that we’ve ever sinned?

Again, without an extensive study on this verse or the concept, I’d have to say that common sense seems to point to the fact that the memory of sin isn’t actually erased from God’s memory, but is instead erased from the list of things that point to our guilt. If you think of it like a court case, sometimes evidence is thrown out. If evidence isn’t collected correctly or if it isn’t presented in a case using the correct procedures then the Judge can throw the evidence out. It doesn’t make the evidence cease to exist, it just can no longer be presented in the case against the defendant.

I guess I may be out on a limb here, but I fail to understand the reason to perpetuate false ideas. While it is true that “in a way” God sort of forgets by no longer holding the sin against us, in reality he doesn’t reformat his hard drive. Why can’t we just say it like it is?

I understand that the idea is to be able to say to someone, “God forgets your sins, so you shouldn’t feel guilty anymore” but I’m not sure if that is such good advice in the first place. First of all God doesn’t forget, he forgives and in the same way we will never forget. Certainly we should rejoice in God’s forgiveness and we shouldn’t be crushed by the guilt of forgiven sin, but it should be something we never forget.

I say all of that to say the sign in town bothers me and so does Krystal Myers song.

17 thoughts on “Does God REALLY Forget Our Sins?

  1. He puts the as far as the east is from the west. He puts them in the deepest sea. I think that is in the Bible. So I don’t know if He forgets me or not.

  2. He puts them (our sins) as far as the east is from the west. He puts them in the deepest sea and remembers them no more. I think that is in the Bible. So I don’t know if He forgets them (our sins) or not.

  3. “Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurred to God?” — William Sasser

    First it should be noted that verse in question in the OP is Jer 31:34 not verse 24.

    Secondly, the idea that an absolutely sovereign God can “forget” something is ludicrice. Even to purport that God would intentionally erase His memory is not, imho, a biblical option. God has never “learned” anything. So for Him to have new or “different” knowledge concerning His creation, even that which has had the righteousness of Christ imputed is to say that God’s mind has changed. This limits the sovereignty of God and reeks of Open Theism.

    The phrase, “and will remember….no more” must then mean something different than an erasure from memory whether intentional or not. The most logical, and indeed biblical interpretation for this phrase has to be “For I will forgive their wickedness and will count unto them as righteousness their ‘knowing the Lord.'”

    In other words…..there is now no more condemnation for those who have been forgiven.

    A Sovereign God does NOT EVER forget.

    Think of it like this: A witness says something in court…the jury hears it…..but the judge rules it out of order and rules the testimony be stricken from the record. The jury does not forget, but they cannot use that testimony in determining judgment.

    Forgiven sin is ruled inadmissible and stricken from the record at the judgment. :) What a Savior we have!

  4. Jeremiah 31:34

    I believe that God, since He is aware of time past, present and future simulaneously “remembers” our sin, but when repentance occurs, He chooses to “forget”.

    I wish I could choose to forget and wipe my mind clean.

  5. I still think God’s choosing to forget sin is the choice to not count it against us. I still think forgetting is a metaphor for removing those things which condemn us.

    A friend of mine pointed out that the way God exists in or experiences time makes the idea of God forgetting something improbable. Mainly because we believe God exists outside of time. He sees all time at once. If this is true then God can’t necessarily forget sin. The act of forgetting exists in the procession of time.

    It’s kind of the same idea when people say something like “I’m going to forget you ever said that.” What they are saying is I’m not going to hold that against you… they are not actually going to forget…

    That’s my thoughts anyway, for what it’s worth.

  6. God can do anything. The Bible says he forgets our sins He forgets our sins. He is a BIG God. He can be sovereign and forget our sins. How this works I don’t know but if we could explaine everything about God He would not be very big.

  7. I can’t say that I agree with your logic. First of all I take issue with the statement “God can do anything”. By God’s very own nature he has limited himself. For instance we can surmise that God cannot sin. If we go with your logic then we would have to say that God can indeed sin because he is a BIG God and he can do anything. That is faulty logic because sin itself is against the very nature of God himself and therefore we are saying that God can be completely holy and still sin because he is a big God and can do anything.

    I surmise that God cannot do anything that would contradict his nature or that would make him out to be a liar. So if indeed God is sovereign, knows all things, and sees all time at once then I propose the idea that God cannot in fact forget sin and therefore the phrase found in the Bible is a metaphor.

    I also take issue with the statement “the Bible says he forgets our sins He forgets our sins”. There are metaphors found in the Bible and you have to be able to interpret them without taking them at face value. The bible says that Jesus is the “Lamb who was slain”. Would you say that Jesus is really a lamb? Isn’t he fully human and fully God? Can he be a lamb too? Lamb is a metephor that simply cannot be taken at face value. I think God forgetting sin is also a metephor.

  8. I was going to say that the one thing God can not do is sin but I thought that was a given. What I mean by our God is big is he can do things that we cannot explaine with our small brains. He can oparate out side the norm. Such as a virgin giving birth. Jesus coming back from the dead and the parting or the Red Sea just to name a few.

  9. But you would agree that God can’t contradict himself? Working outside the norm doesn’t mean that God can contradict his own character.

  10. Yes I would say that God can’t contradict himself, but we cannot put God in a box. I have trouble when the word can’t is used with God. Other than sin. It gets into this debate that goes like this. Can God make a rock He could not lift? It could be because my small brain can’t wrap my mind around a great big holy God.

  11. It doesn’t say that He forgets our sins. What it does say is that God promises that He will remember our sins no more. in other words he won’t use it against you.

  12. Saying that God can’t sin makes no sense for a being that is supposedly omnipotent…
    If you try to view God from a rational point of view, of course you’re going to find inherent paradoxes in his being.

    Plus, Jeremiah’s in the OT anyway… completely different god we’re talking about here.

  13. Ed,

    I totally see your point…when standing over there. But come over here and look at it from this perspective: If God sinned, against whom would He be sinning? Additionally, would not God cease to be righteous if He opperated outside of His own righteousness?

    It really is ok to put God in a box. As long as it is the one He came in. :)

  14. But that’s sort of what I’m getting at– you’re anthropomorphizing a deity that exists beyond human rationality. God can’t sin, because the laws that God made that tell is what is sin and what is not were designed for Man, not himself.
    For example, it’s a sin for a human to kill another human, but not for God to kill one of us.

    Everything he does is right (supposedly), so it’s logically impossible for him to do anything wrong.

    To say that God can sin is to suggest that even he is governed by higher laws, higher than his own. And then we’re looking at an uber-god.

  15. if god created good he also created evil. you cant have one with out other. therefor god created sin. if god did not create sin he would not have anything to forgive u for.

  16. God didn’t create evil or sin. Cold doesn’t exist. According to the laws of physics what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Darkness doesn’t exist either. Light can be studied but not darkness. Evil doesn’t exist either it is just like darkness and cold. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when a man does not have God’s love present in his heart. Sin is a result of Man’s disobedience. nothing else. God is faithful to forgive us of sin because he said he would.

Comments are closed.