Posted April 15, 2013
25 “I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins.
Just prior in chapter 43, God was bringing a charge against his people. He said, “You did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel... You have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.” The truth is we, we are those who’ve transgressed for our own sake and yet we are met with God’s words in verse 25 which stand in sharp contrast to our sin: “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake.” Praise God that he is different than us; he is merciful and forgiving! Why does he blot out our transgressions? We like to think it’s because he loves us; because he thinks so highly of us; because of our sacrifices. He says he does this “for my own sake,” not ours. This verse stands next to Ezekiel 36:22, which says, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name.” God was trying to reveal something to us about himself; that though we are sinful, He is forgiving. Note that he even ties this to his own character (“I, I am he...”). God wants us to know what he’s like and that his forgiveness flows out of who he is, not who we are.
Which leads us to the next question: how does God blot out our transgressions and remain just? If we witnessed a judge in his courtroom pronounce a guilty rapist innocent, our sense of justice would be outraged! How could God ultimately do the same with sinful man and remain just? We find out in the upcoming chapters, particularly Isaiah 53, about a coming Suffering Servant who would be “wounded for our transgressions,” “crushed for our iniquities,” on whom God would lay all our iniquity. We learn in the New Testament that Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. He was the one wounded for us, the one crushed for our iniquities! God poured out his righteous wrath not on the sinners who deserved it, but rather his innocent Son! Romans 3:21-26 teaches us that it was precisely through the cross that God is both just and yet also be the justifier of sinful broken people who put their faith in Christ.
It stands as a beautiful consolation to sinners to know that while we might not be able to forget some of our sins, God will choose to not remember them. While God is omniscient (He knows all things) and knows each and every sin against him, he mercifully chooses to not remember them. Why do you dwell on sins from the past? Put all your trust and confidence in Jesus’ work for you on the cross to deal with those sins and also give you the strength to free yourself from the sins that enslave you now. This verse stands as a powerful reminder that we can trust that God’s blotting out of our transgressions is complete work and that he remembers them no more!
This week’s verse was written by Ryan Gikas & Steve Goss, produced by Dustin Ragland. This week’s artwork was created by Chris Cochran (http://instagram.com/iamchriscochran). It’s the first piece of mixed media physical artwork created for The Verses Project.