The forgiveness of God is central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ—the reality that the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ is credited to us when we trust in Him as our Lord and Savior (Romans 4:23-24). This means that through faith in Him all of our past, present, and future sins are completely forgiven, and completely forgotten.
If so, then why do so many Christians continue to live under the burden and cloud of guilt and shame? A major reason is the failure to understand and accept the biblical truth that God’s forgiveness includes His perfect forgetfulness of our sins. From God’s perspective it is as though our sins have never even occurred!
1. Quoting from Jeremiah 31:33-34, the author of Hebrews writes:
This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws on their hearts and write them on their minds…
I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts (Hebrews 10:16-17).
Although here the context is the nation of Israel, because our hearts have been circumcised (Colossians 2:11), and as the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16)—His promise includes us as members of the body of Christ.
2. In Psalm 103 where the entire focus is on forgiveness we read “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (v. 12).
3. We find in Psalm 51: 9 that David asked God to “blot out all my guilt”—a thought that the Bible repeats in Acts 3:19: “Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out . . .”
This does not give us a license to continue to sin. Neither does it mean we shouldn’t confess our sins. But these clear and forceful statements should reassure us that God doesn’t continue holding our sins over our head after they have been forgiven. As humans, we find it difficult to understand how His forgiveness can be that complete. But that is what the Bible reveals. I describe our ideal response to this wonderful truth in Principle #15 in Hebrews, page 1719 in my Life Essentials Study Bible:
“. . . we should “draw near” having “full assurance of faith,” confident that the sacrifice of Christ was sufficient to cleanse us from our sins (v.22, cp. 4:16). We should regularly approach God in His sanctuary to worship Him. God has done His part in providing our bold access into his presence. The blood and high priesthood of Christ (10:19, 21) has cleansed our hearts and bodies (v. 22). Our part is to make sure our faith is true.