12 And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” 13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear. — Hebrews 8:12, 13 NLT
In yesterday’s passage, we read about erecting landmarks and altars to remind us of the goodness of God. We were reminded of how He provides for us and watches over us so that we might proceed safely on our journey. He has established a new covenant with us beginning with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead of an earthly high priest, Jesus is our high Priest. He has made each us members of the royal priesthood. We can now speak directly to God Himself. He is the complete, final sacrifice so that it is no longer necessary for us to carry out the rituals required in the Old Testament. Along with that new covenant, He has written His laws in our hearts and in our minds. He has chosen to forget our sins against Him The Holy Spirit testifies that this is true. ( Hebrews 10:14-18). Just as God forgives and forgets our sins, we are to forgive others. To do that, we are going to have to go back through the memories of our lives and tear down some mental landmarks. All those memories that birng back the times we have felt or actually been mistreated are going to have to be dealt with and released into God’s captivity. As humans, we may not be able to forget entriely, but if we follow the instructions given us in 2 Cor. 10:3-5 to bring every thought captive and teach them to obey Christ, then we will find that it is completely possible to make those bad times in our lives insignificant. If not insignificant, then, at least, no longer worthy of mentioning. Otherwise, they become the roots that produce fruits of bitterness. Give those thoughts to God and allow Him to tear down the landmarks before they become strongholds that keep our relationship with God from growing into maturity.
20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. — Eccel. 7:20 NIV
Verses like the one above are meant to encourage us not to give us an excuse to “do it my way”. Mr. Sinatra was a great singer, but the writer of that particular song had some bad theology. We all fall, but we don’t stay fallen. I am encouraged by Paul whose claim to be the “chief of sinners” could be contested by some of us in today’s society. He clearly knew who he was, Whose he was and where he was on his journey. He lets us know that he is not there yet, but he is on his way and he is determined to arrive there.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 3:12-14 NIV
”Forgetting what is behind” is the example Paul sets for us. That is a hard thing for humans to do. But, if we don’t practice that, then satan will use those memories of our failures to condemn us and make us feel unworthy to approach God and ask for His forgiveness. If we allow this to continue, we will soon become beaten down with guilt. Condemnation is from the devil, conviction is from the Holy Spirit. Rebuke satan and his condemnation. Accept the conviction of the Holy Spirit and ask for His forgiveness. Accept that forgiveness and “press on toward the goal to win the prize”.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
— 1 John 1:8-10 NIV
No, we are not perfect, but we are being perfected day by day.