One afternoon while working with a friend, I made the mistake of not paying attention to our task. As a result of this momentary slipup, my friend ended up injured, and I felt it was my fault. Although he recovered from his injury, for many days afterward I carried around a feeling of guilt and condemnation because I was the reason he was hurt. This guilt made it challenging to move ahead; I became afraid that I might injure the next person I worked with. Thankfully, God’s remission of sins and forgiveness allow us to not be held back by our past mistakes, but rather to live a more abundant life in the present. By holding these truths in mind, I was able to move past my regret to mental freedom.
When we were born again, all the sins we had committed up until that time were remitted. God blotted out, erased, those things that were against us (Colossians 2:13,14). This has always been God’s desire—that His people live free from sin.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Just how far is the east from the west? East and west never meet. That is how far God has removed our transgressions from us through the accomplished works of Jesus Christ. When we got born again, God gave us a fresh start in our new life.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized [born again] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit].
When we confess Jesus as lord and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9), God’s Word declares that our past sins are remitted; they are blotted out because of what Jesus Christ accomplished. Our minds may want to hold on to past errors from before we were born again, but we can renew our minds to the truth. Instead of holding on to thoughts that don’t build us up and edify us, we can remind ourselves of what God says in His Word, that the sins we committed before we were born again have been remitted.
God also forgives the mistakes we make after we are born again. He is good and merciful always.
…the goodness of God endureth continually.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
God’s goodness continually endures, and His mercy is everlasting. Our sins never change this. He is never surprised that we do not always do everything right, and we shouldn’t be surprised either. For those times that we make mistakes and break fellowship with Him, He has already given us a solution for receiving forgiveness and restoring our fellowship.
I John 1:9:
If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is faithful and just to forgive us each time we confess our broken fellowship with Him. Then we can move ahead with a fresh start.
One example of someone who was not held back by past mistakes is the Apostle Paul. Before being born again, Paul held a high rank in the Judean religious system and caused much hardship for the first-century Christian Church (Acts 8:3; Philippians 3:5,6). After he was born again, Paul could have been tempted to condemn himself and to have guilt for the things he had done. But instead of holding on to those thoughts, Paul renewed his mind to the truth that his sins were remitted by God and he could live freely for Him.
Brethren, I [Paul] 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.
Paul was able to forget those things that were behind. He knew his sins had been remitted and he was able to claim the more abundant life that God desired for him.
Just like the Apostle Paul, we can choose to remind ourselves that God has removed our transgressions from us, remitted the sins we committed before we were born again, and has provided a way for us to continually restore our broken fellowship with Him as needed. We can live free from our regret. We can forget those things that are behind and live the vibrant, abundant life God has called us to in the present.