Words of Grace
One of the things God has not given us is the ability to forget the things we really want to forget. There are good reasons for that, I suppose, but most of us have done some things we would love to push out of our thinking forever. It certainly doesn’t help when other people remind us or when the evil one whispers a reminder in our ears. But we often don’t need them. We just remember. And, when we remember, it hurts.
But does God want us to live every day in the shame of what we have done? Some preachers seem to think so. They keep Christians in control and motivate them to obedience by reminding them of what they were before they came to Christ. Forgiveness means little if our sins are always lifted up to us by others or by ourselves.
No, God does not want us to live in shame. He says that there is “no condemnation” for those of us who belong to Jesus. He says that all our sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ. He says we are clean.
One of my favorite passages is from 1 Corinthians 6, where Paul is telling the readers that they are no longer what they were. He does not deny what they were and what they did, but he explains that they are different now—new creations, as the Lord said.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11
“Such were some of you.” This is not denial. This is reality . . . but it is the whole reality. We are not what we were because we have been washed. We are now clean because of Jesus. He washed all our sins away. Today we are no longer what we were.
“But what about the sins I have done since becoming a Christian?” Those sins are washed away by the blood as well. In fact, those sins didn’t stick to us in the first place. Some people don’t like this teaching. They think our former sins are gone but not our current sins. If that’s true, however, then Jesus has to be crucified again for us or some other way of salvation has to be determined. If sin still separates us from God and remains on our account after we have come to Jesus, then the cross of Christ was not enough.
But the cross was enough. The love of God is sufficient to cover all our sins: past, present and future. We are no longer what we were and we will never again be what we were—because we have been washed and made clean.