2002-04-05 - Deletion
Anyone who uses a computer is familiar with the "delete" key (and probably grateful for it, as well!). Recently in our local paper, there was a story about a local politician who was being investigated for corruption. He thought he had "covered his tracks," by deleting all the incriminating files from his computer. What he didn't realize was that "his sins would find him out," when a skilled computer specialist "recovered" those files.
It is good for us, that our relationship with God is not like that. First, we can never "cover our tracks" from God. He is Omniscient (all-knowing). He sees everything and in fact, He knows every word we are going to utter, before we speak it. We can hide our true nature from other people, but God knows our raw hearts.
Also, what a blessing to know that when God forgives our sins, He won't "throw them up in our face" again. One definition of "delete" is to "blot out," and that is what God does to our sins. He truly forgives us for them. We may have to pay Earthly consequences for our sins. If we break the law, we may have to serve prison time, fulfilling God's justice. (Romans 13) If we have sex before marriage, we and our future spouses will probably have to deal with pain caused by that decision. If we drink alcohol excessively, we may lose our jobs, our families,and suffer liver disease.
But if we are truly sorry for what we have done, and ask God's forgiveness, He will not hold it against us any more.
Psalm 103:12 (NASB) As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Our fellowship with Him will be restored. God does not want us to be mired in guilt over past offenses. That is a waste of the time, gifts and energy with which He blesses us. Now if we continue to commit the sin over and over, that's another matter. But if we have truly repented, God doesn't want us to "beat ourselves up." If our Sovereign God says our sins are forgiven, we don't have the right to hold them against ourselves - or for that matter, we don't have the right to not forgive others.
On the other hand, we can prevent God from forgiving our sins, by refusing to forgive others. God's word is very clear on this:
Matthew 6:14-15 (NASB) For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.
If we hold others' sins against them, God will hold ours against us. But if we repent of our sins and forgive other people, God will blot out our sins, no matter what we have done. You may think "Oh I have been so awful, that God can't possibly forgive me." But look at the Apostle Paul. He was a murderer. He persecuted people for their faith. He killed God's own people, but God not only forgave him, but used him mightily. And He will do the same for you and me.