God is illogical. When it comes to forgiveness, he makes no sense to our finite and fleshy minds. When I forgive someone, what that person did to me hovers in the back of my mind. I can’t help but react based on my memory of what happened. How can God, whose memory is perfect, be any different? It’s hard to fathom how God forgives without condition and without end.
But that’s human logic. If we forget what God says in his Word, we make assumptions: “I’m not really sure what God’s love is, but this is what my dad’s love is like, so that must be what God’s love is like. Since forgiveness looks like this at work or at school, this must be how God forgives.”
God says he dropped our sins into his sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:19; Isaiah 43:25). No one else forgets our sin. A sea of forgetfulness doesn’t make sense when everyone else is ready to throw us into a mud puddle of remembrance. The world reminds us of our failure and rubs our noses in it. But Jesus gives peace not as the world does (John 14:27), and peace and forgiveness are inextricably linked.
The most liberating truth in all of Scripture is that we are liberated. God is not bound by human logic. He is not like our spouse or co-worker. He is not like our teacher, friend, or significant other. When God says he forgives us, he is speaking the truth because he is truth (Titus 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). When God says he forgives, he isn’t talking about a sappy, sentimental moment in which we talked him into being good to us. He is referring to a sovereign decree of his will to extend grace to an undeserving person.
He did this by killing his Son.
That’s a blunt statement, but it’s true. John 3:16 states God gave his Son. At the same time, Jesus, who is God, laid down his life (John 10:17-18). Why? So he could offer us the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus became sin for us. Gnaw on that one. That’s how serious God is about forgiveness.
With no equivocation, God says: “I am choosing not to count your sin against you anymore—not because you’re a good person or because you’re doing more good than bad—but because my Son paid the debt for your sin. It is finished. Transaction complete. All you have to do is believe me and give me your whole life and I’ll place your sin upon my Son and credit his righteousness to you. I’m doing every bit of this. You’re doing nothing. Even the faith you demonstrate will be my gift to you. Now live like your sin is gone—because it is. As far as the east is from the west.”