Saturday, April 5, 2014

'Remember' is a Verb

I forget stuff all the time--where I put my glasses, what I'm supposed to get at the store, the name of that great deli downtown. Remembering, for me, is an effort sometimes and I write down more than ever before just so it doesn't get lost, so I don't commit some embarrassing faux pas.

God, however, does not forget. Not in the same sense that I do, anyway. He doesn't remember the way I do, either.

For me, remembering is a mental exercise, something I do in my head. For God, however, remembering is an action verb. God doesn't have a brain, after all. He's a spiritual being and doesn't He's one thing. He can't forget, so He doesn't have to remember.

But the Bible says He does.
I will remember my covenant...--Genesis 9:15

So, when God promises to remember, what exactly does He mean?
Let's see--
When God remembered Noah in Genesis 8:1, He sent a great wind to dry off the earth.
When God remembered Abraham in Genesis 19:29, He rescued Lot from Sodom.
When God remembered Rachel in Genesis 30:22, He opened her womb.
When God remembered the Israelites in Exodus 6:5-6, He brought them out of Egypt.

What, then, is remembering to God?
It's action.
When God remembers, He doesn't just slap His forehead saying, "Oh-that's where I left the Hebrews." When He remembers, He is acting. In every one of these examples, He is enacting rescue.
To God, remembering = doing something.

And the reverse is also true.
When God stops remembering, He does not forget in the same way we do. It's not only His memory that's affected. To God, not remembering means not acting.
And, for us, God's forgetting is good.
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.--Isaiah 43:25

He remembers your sins no more.
This forgetting does not only describe an act of memory. It is God declining to act.

This is the Good News of Jesus and the cross.
Because of what Christ did on Calvary, God forgets. He will no longer mete out the punishment we earned for our sin. He no longer remembers. He chooses not to act.

Remembering is acting.
Forgetting is declining to act.

That's how God does it.
We can do it that way, too.

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