Did God forget David’s sins?

Some time ago, I wrote an article entitled “The Scarlet Letter.”  In it, I discussed the complete putting away of our sins.  I told you that God forgets our sins – totally and completely.

One on-the-ball person asked, “But what about David?  If God forgave and forgot his sins, why are they recorded forever in the scriptures?”

This is a good point – a very good question.  What does this mean then?: That John Plunkett was talking rubbish again?  Or that the scriptures contradict each other?  The first is highly possible.  The second is not!

Let us look into this and answer the question:  If God forgave and forgot David’s sins totally and completely, why are they recorded forever in the scriptures?”

First, let us review some of the scriptures in question.  And for the first of these, let us look again at David’s plea for God to forgive and forget his sins:

Psalm 25:7:
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to your mercy remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

Psalm 51:1, 9:
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions…  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

I ask the same question as I asked in that “Scarlet Letter” article: “Would David even waste his time asking this favour of God, if it were not possible?”

Asaph, another Psalmist, asks the very same blessing… but on all Israel:

Psalm 79:8:
Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us!  Let your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low.

David asks the converse on the wicked and deceitful enemies of God and His people:

Psalm 109:2, 4, 14:
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue… In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer… Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.

So what is the answer?

God certainly does promise to forget all the sins of His people; and yet David’s sins – and those of Paul, Abraham, Noah, Moses and others – remain recorded for every generation of mankind to read about.

I believe that the answer is this:

For the majority of His people, upon our repentance, God forgives our sins totally – and He completely forgets them immediately.

But for now, for the purpose of giving good, powerful examples to His people, God has left some of the sins of David, Paul, etc. recorded in His Word.  But, I believe, He will forget their sins at some future time – probably after the appropriate lessons have been learnt and are no longer necessary for mankind. 

This time might be at the time of the end of the Great White Throne Judgment period when all sin has finally been purged from the earth and God the Father comes to dwell with His children:

Isaiah 65:17:
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

It is my speculation that, at that time, God will cause Himself and all others to forget these things.

Does God really have this kind of power?

It is logical that, if God has the power to force Himself to forget our sins, then it should be no problem for Him to force His children to do so as well.

The episode of the two disciples walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus teaches us that God has ultimate, total power over our minds, memories, recognition and understanding:

Luke 24:13-18, 28-31:
Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.  And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?"  Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?"…  Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.  But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent."  And He went in to stay with them.  Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

First, their eyes were restrained so that they did not know Him.  Later, their eyes were opened so that they knew Him.  Who restrained their eyes, then opened their eyes?  Who else but God Himself?

So back to our original question.  Did God forget David’s sins and those of Paul, Abraham, etc.?  The probable answer is “No, not yet.”  But He did forgive them, He is using them today as examples and lessons to us, and He will totally forget them in the future.

December 14, 2010

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This page last updated: February 16, 2012