Does God Really Forgives?

Does God Really Forgive

Have you ever wondered . . . .

If God is omniscient (all-knowing), how can it be that He forgives our sins? Doesn’t the act of forgiving include forgetting? Has it not been said that God remembers our sin no more?

Indeed, it has been said that God no longer remembers our sin. In His word, God states, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Is 43:25)

But how does God not remember something if He knows everything?

Perhaps the answer lies in our perspective on forgiveness.

The word “forgive” has multiple varied meanings, but all with essentially the same general idea:
1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve
2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
3. to grant pardon to (a person).
4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one’s enemies.
5. to cancel an indebtedness or liability to forgive the interest owed on a loan.
6. to pardon an offense or an offender. (

In every one of these definitions, there is a CHOICE on the part of the wronged party. One must CHOOSE to grant a pardon. One must CHOOSE to give up all claims on account of. One must CHOOSE to cease to feel resentment against. One must CHOOSE to cancel an indebtedness or liability.

I think therein lies the distinction. As God’s Word states, He does not remember our sins once we have repented. It is not because He is unable to remember them; it is because He CHOOSES to forget them. He CHOOSES to cover our sins with His blood. He CHOOSES to no longer impute our sin to our account, having paid the tremendous price on His own, by offering Himself in our place. “. . . Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Ro 4:7-8)

The Bible states that “as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Ps 103:12) Think about that. There is no end to the east. There is no end to the west. One could travel for an infinite amount of time in either direction and still essentially go nowhere. How unfathomable the distance between the point of east to the point of west. And that is how far God removes our sin from before Himself. God no longer desires our sin before His face. Once we have repented, He pushes it away. No longer does He choose to remember it. It is gone.


The Bible states that all are sinners. We are all destined for hell, born into iniquity, redeemable only by the grace of God. None among us are perfect. Failure to admit to human frailty brings us to the point of no longer possessing truth. “8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 Jn 1:8,10) But God clearly promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9) How easy it is to just ask for that forgiveness, and how great a price God paid for the ability to choose to remember our sin no more. How can we not bow down before so great a God and admit our failings?


One of the greatest stories in the Bible about forgiveness is found in the book of John.

“Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (Jn 8:1-11)

This happened during one of Jesus’ early morning teaching sessions. The teaching was rudely interrupted by a commotion. Place yourself in the woman’s point of view. Imagine the shame, inadequacy, imperfection, and horror she felt when she was discovered in the very act of adultery. It wasn’t that it was just found out through word of mouth. She was caught in the very act. Imagine how exposed she felt, with her failings exposed for anyone to see. She knew the consequences of her sin; the Law commanded that she be stoned. Imagine her further horror when she realized where the scribes and Pharisees were taking her – to Jesus. She probably had heard of this man; no doubt heard of his miracles and the attention people were giving Him. She probably felt incredibly guilty, having realized she would be brought before a man of great holiness and uprightness. The commotion of them entering the temple brought silence. Imagine how she must have felt, being paraded by all those people, perhaps some of whom she knew. She was set in the middle of the crowd, before Jesus. When she heard the men asking Jesus what should be done with her as they clung tightly to their rocks, she resigned herself to dying before the day was done. Imagine when she realized Jesus was not answering the men, but instead writing on the ground, the curiosity she must have felt. She may have scooted closer to see what He was writing, until the men began demanding an answer from Jesus, and then again she hung her head in shame. As Jesus rose up to answer the men, imagine her cringing, expecting Him to throw the first rock. Imagine her great surprise when He stated, “Whoever is sinless, you throw the first stone.” As Jesus knelt down to write on the ground again, the woman gaped at Him, wondering who He really was, and became even more astonished, as all around her, she began to hear the soft thuds of the rocks hitting the ground. Imagine as she whipped her head from side to side, looking to see if there was anyone left to accuse her. She must have been shocked as she realized all the accusers were gone. The only person left before her was Jesus. As she stood before Him, she watched as Jesus stood up and asked where her accusers were and if no one had condemned her. She replied, “No one, Lord.” She must have felt great relief and astonishment as Jesus stated, “I don’t condemn you either. Go and stop sinning.” She had been given a new lease on life. When she thought she would not last another hour, she was looking at a lifetime ahead of her.

The greatest lesson to be gleaned from this passage is the forgiveness of God. Jesus came to set a new law in order. No longer was the taking of a life continuously required for sin. No longer did a bull, goat, or other such animals have to die as a result of someone’s actions. And no longer did a sinner have to die, as the old law had required. Jesus came to fulfill the law and meet the requirement for a blood sacrifice so that sins could be forgiven once and for all. His perfection was on par with the ultimate sacrifice required.

Another lesson found in this passage is the attitudes of the scribes and Pharisees. These men, in Jesus’ time, saw themselves as perfect, sinless, and not in need of a Savior. Finding the woman in sin, they brought her before Jesus, as if to say “Look at us. We’re perfect, but this woman is not.” Jesus was able to see right through them. Pointing out that the one without sin was welcome to throw the first rock at the woman began introspection on the part of each of the men. Standing before Jesus and His perfection brought them to the realization that they were NOT perfect, and not in any position to be casting judgment on another. Perhaps what Jesus wrote on the ground was a list of all of their sins. No one knows for sure. But it is clear that they realized they were sinners too. It is interesting to see that the Bible notes it was the eldest who left first. Perhaps the older ones were quicker to see all their failures and were wiser in being convicted sooner.

If the right attitude had been in the hearts of these men, they would not have dragged her before a crowd of people to put her on public display before Jesus. In thinking they were perfect and in despising those who they believed “beneath” them, they were not holy in their attitudes. Jesus saw right through them to this. Their attitudes were a sin. In contrast, the love of God becomes strikingly clear as He points out their sin and turns around and forgives the woman.

These men attempted to catch Jesus, perhaps by getting Him to “break” the law of Moses in refusing to stone the woman. As has been previously noted, Jesus came to fulfill that law – He had the ability to forgive her sins without the need for bloodshed. But as Jesus pointed out their sins, perhaps they realized they all were worthy of the same punishment, as no one was ever able to keep every commandment of the law.

The love of God is revealed in this passage. His grace and mercy become clear. Under the law, this woman deserved death. If not death, she deserved a public disciplining. But Jesus chose, instead, to not condemn her. He recognized her attitude of contrition and sorrow. She knew she needed as Savior. She addressed Him as Lord. He looked at her heart and forgave her. Imagine how free and full of joy she felt at that moment. Instead of slowly being crushed to death under the weight of many rocks, she was looking into the face of her Creator, feeling His love, compassion, and mercy.

How can we condemn anyone? Looking at this passage, we see the sacrifice of Christ, and the price He paid to offer us His mercy and forgiveness. His love is evident. If He has forgiven us of all our sins, how can we not forgive others? We alone know the dirtiness of our own hearts and all the sins we have attempted to hide. We know how much God has forgiven us. We cannot deny that to others. As we follow Christ, we must emulate His actions. None of us has the right to look down on anyone else. We are all sinners, on our way to hell, saved only by God’s grace. In fact, God states in His Word that we cannot be forgiven unless we first forgive others.

When we place ourselves in the sandals of this woman, we begin to understand the awesomeness of God’s mercy, longsuffering, and grace. Without God, without the sacrifice He paid on the cross, we would be lost, hopeless, and incapable of living up to His standards. We would continue to wallow around in our sins with no hope for a better tomorrow. But He has provided us with a way of salvation – through His blood. Looking at His sacrifice, required because of our sin, brings us to a humble position, prostrate before God, ever thankful for what He has done for us.


All forgiveness from God requires is asking. The Bible states that He is faithful to forgive us if we only confess our failings. And He does forget our sins. He CHOOSES to.



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About the author

Rachel Quam

I am a person who is passionate about life and about my two young girls. I graduated from CLC in Stockton, CA in 2004 with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies. I love photography, family, friends, reading, music, being near any body of water, and shopping and selling on Ebay, just to name a few things. Whatever I enjoy, I put my heart into. I don't believe in being half-hearted about anything. I live on the basis of this knowledge: that God alone holds the universe in the palm of His hand.