I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.
Picture the scene. The city of Jerusalem has been devastated by the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Jerusalem’s king has been captured and taken back to Babylon. The Temple is burnt to the ground, and many of the people have been taken along with their king into captivity and exile.
For years the prophet Jeremiah had been warning the people of Jerusalem that a disaster like this would happen if they didn’t turn from their sins. But the people would not listen, so they ended up reaping the bitter fruits of their actions. Jeremiah’s words or, rather, God’s words through Jeremiah, were vindicated—words of judgment, punishment, and wrath.
But now the worst has happened, and Jeremiah’s tone has shifted dramatically. No longer are there threats of destruction, warnings of judgment, or pleas for repentance. Now there are visions of restoration, promises of forgiveness, and poems of consolation. All the sins he had denounced? It was as if they had never existed. God would remember them no more. All the evil they had done? It was washed away and replaced with the promise of a new covenant written on each person’s heart. Where once the wrath of God blazed, now there was only his tenderness and love.
What the Israelites experienced on a massive scale, we can experience every day on a more personal scale. Day after day, the Holy Spirit sends us messages, guiding us along the path of holiness and warning us against other dangerous paths. He knows he can only do so much, that it’s up to us to choose which way we will go. He also knows we will not always follow his guidance, and we risk ending up like the people of Jerusalem. And so he is prepared to offer us his mercy no matter how far we may have fallen.
God forgives everything, big and little. Marital infidelity. White lies. Abortion. Harsh words. Theft. Gossip. Every act born of lust or envy or selfishness. If he could forgive Jerusalem for its many sins and crimes—if he could continue to treat them as his own special people—surely he can forgive you. Surely he can forgive everyone around you too. Everyone.
word among us