I invite you to look at the title of today’s study, and ponder it deeply for a few moments. What if God wasn’t recording your sins? How would that change your life? How would that change the way you think, or the concerns of your heart? How would that affect your conscience, or the guilt and shame that so easily burdens us? How would this change your relationship with God and how you view Him?
In this study today, we will be looking at these questions, and the truth of scripture that surrounds them. We will be examining all of this through the lens of the grace of God, and in the light of the finished work of Christ – His sacrifice for you, and who you are today in Him.
As you see this truth today, your eyes will be opened to the amazing Grace of God, that we sometimes sing about, but never stop to consider the reality of what it means for us. And many chains of guilt, shame and condemnation will be broken as a result of seeing this today.
The first thing which we should understand when asking these types of questions is “Does this even matter?” – to which the answer is an overwhelming yes!
In-fact this matters more than most people even realize – because most people (myself included) have been taught from a very early age that God is indeed keeping a record of our sins. I know that in my Sunday school class, and later in adult church services, I was taught that God will one-day replay my entire life on His giant-sized projector screen up in heaven, and that I will be judged for every single sin and wrong-doing that I have ever committed.
Can you imagine what effect this had on my young self? It made me walk on constant eggshells (metaphorically speaking) always afraid that I might do something wrong that I will one day be judged for by God. It made God out to be an object of fear and dread, instead of a loving Father.
And as I became older, this same idea was reinforced by countless legalistic pastors which I encountered, and I made the mistake of never checking it out for myself at the time, and just assumed that they knew best because they were leaders in church buildings, or they had Television shows.
I have since come to realize that my experiences were not unique, because people have expressed to me strikingly similar stories about how they have believed the same lie… that God will one day replay their entire lives in heaven, and that they will be judged for every sin; that God is keeping a laundry list of every single wrong that they have ever committed.
So that is why it matters to ask these questions. Because it is very harmful to just assume that what we hear about God is true, just because the person telling us is standing behind a pulpit, with a nice suit, or a likable personality, or a degree with letters before or after their name. The apostles themselves had no such dignities.
And if you happen to have believed this lie about God (as I once did) then you will be very glad that you came across this study today, because you are about to see your real Father in Heaven, apart from the man-made ideas, doctrines and theologies that so often put false barriers between us and God – when Jesus came to tear them down!
The first question for us to answer is the basis for the title of today’s study: Does God actually record a list of your sins?
And as you may have already guessed from our discussion so far today, the answer is not what most people would expect.
Now this question isn’t really my invention, David the Psalmist had the exact same thought, which he wrote about in Psalm 130:3:
“If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”
David, is pondering the exact same question: if God would actually keep a record of sins, who would be able to stand? It’s a question that cuts right to the heart of anyone who thinks that God does keep such a record.
Because again, the error and the trap is that many people are constantly striving to improve their behaviors and they are looking to their own performance and to measure-up to what they perceive to be a “good-enough” standard… however God’s standard has never been merely good-enough; His standard has always been absolute perfection in every aspect – to be perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
That is not a standard that can be met by the strength and effort of man; it can only be met through the finished work of Christ Jesus.
Seriously stop for a moment and give honest consideration to David’s question… who would be able to stand, if God actually kept a record of sins? Keeping in-mind that it’s not just the big things that we are typically aware of, but even the little things – some of which we might be completely oblivious about. Every single sin, from every stray thought, to the hidden desires of the heart, to every little compromise or even the smallest of slips; including sins of sheer ignorance. In the light of all of that, who would truly be able to stand, if God kept a record of sins?
The only answer that can honestly be given is Jesus Christ Himself. He is the only one who can stand, because He is completely devoid of all sin. And this is why He came – because under the Old Covenant system, sins could never be removed, they could only be covered for one year, and then fresh sacrifices of animals had to be made. It was a never-ending cycle, that never really dealt with the sin problem.
Then here comes Jesus, and He did what no bullock, no goat, no other animal and no man could ever do… He offered the completely perfect, completely divine, completely eternal sacrifice of Himself.
He completely finished, satisfied and ended the Old Covenant, and placed us into the New Covenant, described in Hebrews 8:6 as a better covenant with better promises.
What makes the New Covenant different than the Old Covenant? For starters, the quality of the sacrifice. Jesus is far better, greatly superior than the animals that were being sacrificed under the Old Covenant system. As stated they only covered sins, while Jesus totally removes them! That cannot be overstated.
Secondly, the Old Covenant was man-centered. The burden was on man to perform in order to be blessed by God. If mankind did not obey absolutely perfectly, they were cursed; and such a covenant required a continual memory and consciousness of sins – there was constant guilt and shame and condemnation that was always at play.
Conversely, the New Covenant of Christ is not man-centered, but it is Christ-centered. The burden is no-longer on mankind to perform perfectly, but the burden was placed solely on Jesus Christ, and He has performed absolutely perfectly. Today we are blessed based on His perfection, and all of our curses and sins were placed upon Him. He paid the price and removed them all.
And this leads us to the glorious answer to our main question: Does God actually record your sins?
For every single person who is in Christ today, the answer is a resounding: No. If you have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus in your place you can be absolutely certain that He does not record your sins. But please do not take my word for it… let God speak for Himself, in Hebrews 8:12:
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
Why is God able to do this? Not because He has somehow gone soft and just sweeps sin under the carpet, as some critics of Grace like to claim – but God can rightly and justly be merciful and not remember your sins, because Jesus has paid the price in full and done away with them permanently!
So much so in-fact that in Colossians 1:21-22, it is said that though we were at one time enemies, and separated from God, the sacrifice of Christ Jesus for us, has so completely cleansed us and made us new in the sight of God, that we are now presented to Him as completely blameless and unreprovable!
Now you may have never even imagined that God sees you that way today… but I would encourage you to fully consider the amazing work of Christ on your behalf. If such a thing rested on yourself, your strength or your efforts, then truly it would not be possible – but it doesn’t rest on us, it rests on Jesus and He actually did accomplish it for us.
The marvelous reality is that God is not recording your sins today, because they have all been wiped completely clean by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for you. Today you are absolutely blameless: He has nothing on record that you can ever be blamed for. And you are unreprovable: you will never be called to account on anything. Again, because Jesus wiped your slate divinely clean through His sacrifice.
Now, as I did at the start of our study today, I ask you to take a few moments, and truly consider the question in the title of today’s study: What if God wasn’t recording your sins? And now that you know that He is not, how does that change the way you see Him? What does that do to the fearful barrier that religion often places between mankind and God? How does this affect your overall relationship with Him?
And as you ponder these questions, I say to you,