What God Cannot Remember

“By a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

Why should God let us into heaven? It’s one of the most important questions we can ask. If we answer honestly, we can say nothing other than God, You shouldn’t let me into heaven. But I’m here, and it’s all because of the invitation of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, our salvation is all grace. It’s all God. It’s all on the basis of what Jesus has accomplished.

Under the old covenant, the priest offered and reoffered and reoffered sacrifices to God. The repetition pointed to inadequacy: those sacrifices could never absolve us fully from our sins (Heb. 10:11). The blood of bulls and goats was ultimately insufficient (Heb. 10:4). It couldn’t accomplish the atonement that humanity has needed since the fall. We have always needed a perfect substitute—one that only God Himself could provide.

Because of the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, it’s as if God presses the Delete key on our sins—and there is not a computer genius in the universe that can go find those transgressions again. Our sins are buried in the depth of the oceans (Mic. 7:19). Through Christ’s atonement at the cross, God has removed our transgressions from us as far away as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12).

This is why the Gospel is such glorious news—yes, even for Christians who have long believed it to be true. God remembers our sins no more. So whenever the Gospel is proclaimed, there ought to be such a sensitivity in our own hearts to the wonder of it all. In a sense, we ought to feel that we would love to become a Christian all over again when we realize the glory of all Jesus has done. It is as the hymn writer says:

I love to tell the story,
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting
To hear it like the rest.1

The Gospel is the greatest news available in the whole world. It is God’s final answer to all our despair. In His death upon the cross—one sacrifice, once for all—Jesus Christ has done everything that is necessary to atone for our sin. “By a single offering,” His work is finished.

This article was adapted from the sermon “Holiness” by Alistair Begg.

Katharine Hankey, “I Love to Tell the Story” (1866). ↩︎

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