Jeremiah 31:34 – "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." (NIV)
Recently the Board of my church arranged to paint our manse. In order for this to happen, I had to clean out my office. If you had ever seen it, you would know what a job that was! When I was putting everything back, I resolved that nothing would go in until it had been properly organized.
About the same time, a fellow told me that a mutual friend had a brought him a paper shredder to fix. As I was handling old bank statements, cancelled cheques, and credit card invoices, I began to realize that one of the things that held me back from being organized was the inability to securely dispose of these items with personal information on them. Then I thought of the paper shredder. I was able to borrow this nifty little item, and once I got onto the system, I was able to work through the material from 1995 and 1996 quite quickly.
But while I was doing it, I suddenly realized, "I'm shredding two years of my life!" It was like a part of me was gone. I knew that I had spent a lot of time writing those items in an accounting book, carefully balancing my expenditures against the relevant statements. And now it was all gone!
Then I began to think about another part of my life that I was glad was gone, like all the things that I had done wrong. I wasn't upset that God had forgiven them, and shredded that part of the record of my life. He has said, "I will remember their sins no more," and he means it. They're gone!
When our sins are forgiven, the devil, like a skilful espionage agent, may spend a lot of time trying to piece back together the shreds, the memories of what we have done. But God's Word says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1 NIV) We should not allow ourselves to feel condemned for what God has shredded and forgotten.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, that you assure us that, because Jesus has paid the price of death for our sins, you have cast them "into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19) and forgotten about them. Help us to do the same. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.