“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
Praise God, thank God!
I have much I do not want to remember, things both before and since I was saved by His grace. I have no desire for those memories, they vex me, they at times will not release me, sadly, and to my shame, at times they call to me.
If my understanding of the Scriptures in reference to this verse is correct, that forgetting will not happen until the new heaven and earth is created, although I cannot be sure. But I do know one thing, if these memories I detest about myself are still with me when my body is glorified by the mercy of the Most High, I will see them differently than I do now, for they are clouded by the flesh, and I would suggest that all of them were done by the flesh, and with my willing association.
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)
I believe Paul understood this quite well, we are torn asunder, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25) We would not recognize the desire to have those past memories in this respect cast from us if the new nature was not within us, they might at times bring feelings of remorse, they may make us feel badly about those things we did, but without the Holy Spirit drawing us closer to the Lord, we would never see them as what they were, sin.
Sin does not exist in the mind of the unrepentant man, the thoughts of an offense against the Most High God do not enter into their minds, they were bad deeds, things done that were not seen as alright within society, but Satan is changing even that, as it is quite easy to see by those the Lord has blessed with Spiritual discernment. What was once evil is considered now to be morally acceptable, it takes very little to see this truth being played out today.
Those who believe in the lies of works-based religious organizations are told that without some form of penance, those sins will be severely punished, and are as one of those that spoke with Job was, say we must have committed some grave sin, for, at least in his eyes, the turmoil that Job was being put through was proof of that. In fact, Romanism has even invented a place called purgatory where those “final sins” must be atoned for, for they do not believe that Christ took all the sins of every man ever born upon Himself.
I am not sure if these former things spoken of in our opening verse here are indeed those memories, and I do not really think it matters, we will be changed. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) and so if they remain with us, we will remember them in a different light. It is the person that will not forgive themselves that this letter is intended for, those who not only remember those past sins, but hold them against themselves continuously, they will not forgive themselves.
There is a difference between despising those acts you committed and not forgiving yourself for them, for one allows us to move forward on the path that the Lord has set before us, and the other keeps us in bondage to the past. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
That verse does not say that the moment you were saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that you were immediately transformed, but that it is a continuing work, we are being saved, we are being sanctified. Herein is in part the truth of Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
You have been saved, you will indeed spend eternity in the presence of God, but you have not yet been glorified. These memories are not removed yet, and they may never be, but they are a part of your sanctification, they are reminders of what you once were, but are not any longer. You cannot forget them, but you can look at them as what they are, forgiven, and when you do, you will take another step on the path to your eternal home, and be sanctified just a little more than you were yesterday. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14-15)