Monday, January 30, 2006

He Forgets

I've been thinking lately about how God in His grace, FORGETS the wrong things I've done. When I come to Him and confess my wrong, He forgets. Even when I can't forget it, He does.

This song wraps it up so well. The chorus says,

"He forgets the sins He took to the cross
Every sin I can't pay, He forgets the cost
He knows who I am and all that I've done
When I come to Him and confess
Someway somehow He forgets!"

He doesn't say, "You know Courtney, here's the deal: you do this, this and this and I promise you that I'll forget any of this ever happened."

He doesn't say, "Sign on the dotted line right below the fine print and I'll forget how bad you are."

God doesn't make deals. He doesn't make you sign contracts and He never has fine print. God says, "You confessed it, I forget it."

Even when we go back and tell God how bad we are, He doesn't forsake us. He forgets.

Some Christians see themselves as unworthy, worthless wretches (which we are) and they "make up" for it by doing "good" things. We suffice ourselves by thinking we are appeasing God by replacing our wrong with our right.

Our right and God's right are as different as good and evil. Sometimes I wonder how long God can take it by not hammering into our heads that our righteousness is as filthy rags. He probably thinks that since He said it in His word as plain as day that maybe we should eventually get it.

But instead we crack out our Hebrew and Greek dictionaries and pick apart many doctorines until we can say them backwards. We read the verses on clothing and write enough books on the subject to fill all our bookshelves and all our time. We study the New Testament to get a check list on how to find the perfect Church.

And we read that "our righteousness is as filthy rags" and think that it means that by owning a Biblical wardrobe and simplifying our adornment, our righteousness is taken over by God's righteousness and we are no longer as the heathen. We think that filthy rags is what the ungodly churches have. The ones that wear bad clothes and listen to bad music. The ones that look like the world. The ones that aren't righteous. But, our righteousness is just as good as God's. Or so we think.

We wrap ourselves in our filthy rags of righteousness and call it holiness. God's righteousness is confined by our standards that we've contrived from a few little sermons and a few Greek words we've strung together. We continue to shine our filthy righteous rags and boast about ourselves in how the world is watching us because we have the truth. But most of our "truth" is only our righteousness. It's only filthy rags.

And God sits in Heaven and shakes His head because when we confess our wrong, we replace it with our right. We don't take on the image of Christ; we take on our own prescribed image of godliness.

If only the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be accepted by all Christians for what it really is. More people could be living that abundant life that Jesus promises. He forgets the sins HE took to the cross! We don't have to pay and any attempt to do so belittles Christ's work on Calvary.

If our righteousness is really filthy rags like the Bible says, then let's believe and obey God's Word like Christians are supposed to. There is still hope because when we confess our filthy rags, God forgets our filthy sin.

Someway, somehow, HE FORGETS!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. It really got me thinking. I often times wonder how God can keep forgiving me when after I confess I sin again? And how oh how can he actually foget my sins? That song is very very good. Thanks again.

Coeur d'Court said...

I know Monica, I wonder the same thing too. I think we need to remember that God is so totally not human at all and He has that power and grace to not only forgive but FORGET too!

It's nice of you to stop by. I check out your frequently updated site often. It's been fun getting to know you online.:) And I love how you keep your site updated all the time. That's a habit I should make for myself too. ;)

BrittLeigh said...

Yes Court, that habit's a good one!

On the serious side though, I LOVED this. You already knew I would though ;o). I had to amen it all the way through and then I got to the end and thought "Rats. She's done already!" Bummer. Keep up the good work! Your train of thought is on the right track (it usually if not always is), and outside of the box car!

"...There is still hope because when we confess our filthy rags, God forgets our filthy sin..." Wow! I love it!


Andrea said...

Good thoughts, Courtney. I've been thinking alot of the same lines lately....One question I've had though, is how holiness is balanced with this concept? I completely agree with all that you've said here, but I know some could take these principles and go to the other extreme. They throw out God's principles of modesty, music, courtship, etc., because these are all "external" works, and they claim they're not a true reflection of the heart. Well, I tend to disagree there...Our outward acts are a reflection of our heart, and while they are not what make us righteous before God, there still are principles in God's word that support these things. I feel that there's a fine balance between legalism and holiness, and I believe that balance is found in a right heart relationship with God. It can be so easy to fall into the rut of feeling righteous before God because of our appearance or the things we do. I just feel we need to guard against the other extreme as well! And I know you know this! :-)Thanks again for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Well I feel very honored that you check out my site. It's a shame you can't comment though=-) I think I update to often but then again I have some time on my hands. Once again good post and keep up the good work.

Acts 2:17-18 said...

Wow, that was very insightful Courtney. You have discribed what 'pride' means to a "T" and that is what causes so much division in the body of sad!!!! It all reminds of the days of going to public school with all the competion and peer pressure. There, only the big shots win. May God humble His people to see our need to humble our hearts in the light of HIS Glory and reach out in love to one another (which, by the way, is the REAL Holiness that Jesus taught us)!

In the Book "The Grace and Truth Paradox" it says,

"There is only one requirement for enjoying God's grace: being broke..... and knowing it."

also it says, "Behavior modification that's not empowered by God's heart changing grace is self-righteouness, as repugnant to God as the worst sins people gossip about."

You see we don't deserve this salvation one tiny bit! "There is none good no not one", (no matter how great we think we are). Jesus is still our "only" hope. We follow a perfect Lord and only in him can we find glory and honor and praise. I am not impressed with myself in the least but my desire is to be made like into His image. Until then, I rest in the finished "Work" of the cross. That is why I love the song, "I Will Glory in the Cross" (and many others pertaining to the cross).

To end, back to the book he says,

"A grace-starved, truth-starved world needs Jesus, full of grace and truth.
So what does this hungry world see when it looks at us?"

God bless you with grace and truth!
Love, mom

Coeur d'Court said...

Thanks for the post, Andrea! To your question on holiness vrs. legalism, I think a lot of it has to do with what our definition of holiness is. And that's what I was trying to say is that it's too easy for us to put a box around what we should and shouldn't do and then we tag it as God's when really it's all ours. Good works are a sideline of true holiness. For instance, when the Bible talks about clothing, it talks more about the hidden man of the heart and the spirit of a meek and quiet countenance than it does about the style, color, fabric, buttons or length. When it talks about getting married, it focuses only on the actual marriage and not the steps taken in attaining a wedding ceremony. Instead the whole function of holy matrimony itself is discussed in rather detailed ways (that the marriage relationship be an example of the relationship between Christ and the church, submission and authority, etc.). Of course we have accounts of betrothal in the O.T. but those are purely culteral practices and not principles ordained by God. As far as music goes, I think the Psalms has a lot to say about that. The fact that David was a man after God's own heart gives him a lot of credit for how he praised God. I really have a hard time believing that the Bible presents a checklist of do's and don'ts for these subjects. And when we define them as God's principles, I think we're taking the whole subject of holiness out of context.

I guess the reason I was prompted to write all this in my blog is because I've been seeing lately how real key issues that the Bible presents are being covered over by these side things. Yes, modesty is important (as well as other side issues) but when my focus is on what I'm doing compared to what somebody else is doing, then my focus is off God. But in no way do I believe that everything goes as long as you call yourself a christian! Like Toby said to me recently, when our focus is off of God and instead centered on people around us and how we compare to them, then true holiness is being muffled by our attempts to make ourselves "holy" our own way. God's holiness becomes secondary when really it should be primary.

Coeur d'Court said...

Thanks for the post to you too mom! I loved those Grace and Truth quotes. That's one of my favorite books.

I think you should start updating your own blog. :) You have enough thoughts and excerpts from books to keep your blog adequately supplied with updates. What more do you need?!!

Coeur d'Court said...

Britt, as for my train of thought, I usually stay on the right track and don't derail too often. Thinking outside of the box seems to help! As long as my thoughts surrounding the outside of the box are centered on Scripture. That's the ultimate "box" and one with never ending nuggets of truth!

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind but I took some of your idea's and used them on my site. What you said to Britt about her comment once again made me think. You said about thinking outside the box, for me alot of times it is hard to think out of the box. To not have the feeling that my thoughts need to be like the thoughts of others. Thank you for being the example you are.

BrittLeigh said...

Hey Monica, I thought that was good myself! You're a super woman, Court, ya know? In a good way.

I don't want to take away from the serious side of this comment line. It's become very interesting, btw!
I wanted to mention that I really like the point Monica brought out: "I often times wonder how God can keep forgiving me when after I confess I sin again? And how oh how can he actually forget my sins?"

I'm so thankful for the sea of forgetfulness that God has!

To continue this discussion, there was mention made of a "fine balance between legalism and holiness". I hope nobody minds if I throw in my two cents worth, and not in a judmental attitude, please understand me. I am not being harsh.

My opinion is there is a very huge and vast difference between legalism and holiness. So much so that they are two entirely different entities.

Legalism is earthly and sensual in the sense that it's very binding, and keeps one from fully understanding and accepting the grace of God. It dwells on the works.

Holiness, on the other hand, is the very form and essence of God. Holiness manifests to us our Liberty in Christ through His blood. It dwells on God's finished work.

We cannot have both at once. Legalism builds a wall between us and God--encasing ourselves in the robe of filthy righteousness.

Holiness is flinging off the robe in shame and disgust and embracing God Himself as the Perfecter of holiness.

I am truly thankful that God doesn't have this nice list of dos and don'ts that we must follow. He did not create us to be mindless robots, but living creatures free and at liberty in His Son.

Does this make any sense?

Again Court, many, many thanks for this awesome post. It's so thought provoking, and I've been challenged by it.

Thank God He forgets!

Coeur d'Court said...

I don't mind at all, Monica, if you take something from my blog. :) I'm glad you were challenged by these thoughts as well. My only hope is that God will guide these thoughts into the perfection of His glorious design for us as Christians. Keep on the right track and enjoy the freedom of thinking outside the box within the awesome realm of God's Word.

Coeur d'Court said...

I can only say that I agree with you Britt. I love love LOVE your thoughts on holiness and legalism. That's one subject that is confusing to me because what one person may call holiness, another can call legalistic. By seperating them as two entirely different issues, it makes it all so clear. Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. You two need to update your blog with such profound thoughts as this!

BrittLeigh said...

I'm doin' good, aren't I? *smug smile*

I'm thinking about doing a bit of copying and pasting here.... ;o)


BTW, thanks so much for taking the "word varification" thing off. I just made a snide comment to Hannah yesterday that I wish you'd get rid of that! ;o)

Andrea said...

Court and Britt, good thoughts both of you! I appreciate the aspects you brought out, and can't agree more! Like one of you said, (I can't find who right now) "what one person calls holiness, another will call legalism." It all truly depends on where the heart is. Any issue becomes legalism in our lives when we focus on the "I" instead of on Christ. I was merely bringing out the opposite extreme of the "liberty in Christ, we can do what we want" movement that is so popular now. I know, Courtney, you weren't really talking about that, but I just see it as an easy extreme to swing to in trying to avoid the other.

Becky said...

Hey Court,

You know I'm not a "blog believer", :] but when my inbox is dry with nary a word from you, I figure I may as well acknowledge the fact you HAVE a blog and see if I can scrounge any info on you there. I had to admit I was intrigued with all the comments on God's forgetfulness, and decided it went right along with something I read the other day in my great devotional I have been so blessed with so far this year.

(It was actually for January 29th.)

A God who forgets

"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; And I will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:25 NKJV

"Love does not count up wrongs that have been done." 1 Corinthians 13:5NCV

Because He loves me, God tolerates no barrier between He and I. And His desire to love me is so great, He made a law He Himself could not break. He set legislation against His own Omniscience. He's allowed Himself to forget. My offense becomes lost in His forgetfulness. Only time - linear, sequential time, record keeping time - allows any of us to look back, to look forward, to forget, and to remember. Eternity frustrates this order of things and renders time a nonissue. One is but the Master of another. Love looks beyond the ugliness that I cannot forget. It can keep no such memories, for there is no time to put them in.

In Christ, God's forgetfulness, Amen.

May Love redeem your lost hours and flights of days that seem black on the calendar behind you, things that seem irreparable, that stain the memory with something ugly and unwashed. -David Teems

Coeur d'Court said...

I knew I could get you to come around eventually, Bek. ;) No really, I'm not intentionally avoiding your inbox; just not very emailingly inclined lately. Not much going on so not much to write about. Of course, I could always send a "I'm thinking of you, love and miss you" kind of email but alas, my good intentions don't seem to get the best of me as much as I wish they would.

Thanks for stopping by. It's good to know you read this and I hope you comment more.

Love you-ah!