I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.
For mine own sake. Human action is seldom taken on the persuasion of only one motive. We can hardly ask - What was your motive? We should ask - What were your motives? One, indeed, may seem to be bigger than the rest, and to have decided the course of conduct; but we are very imperfect readers of human nature if we rest satisfied with the easy statement that every act has a single reason, a supreme motive. We may venture to apply this to God. We cannot think of him as acting without motive. We may assume that he is influenced by various motives. But we may be sure that there is always the controlling motive - he will do that which is consistent with himself, that which upholds the honour of his own Name. He takes into account our prayers, and lets them be persuasions upon him; but behind all other impulses we must see this one ever constraining him - "for his own Name's sake." In the text this is applied to the blotting out of transgressions. Forgiveness comes to us because the Divine righteousness wants exhibition, and the Divine love wants expression. It is uninfluenced by any cause in us, save as our persuasions are permitted to be secondary causes. The sovereignty of Divine forgiveness is constantly pressed upon us in Scripture; and the atonement is the mode in which it gains expression, rather than the agency by which it is secured. God is a forgiving God because he is. No more can be said about it. But we may fully enter into the joy of his forgiveness. Three things may be opened and illustrated.
I. FORGIVENESS AS A HOLY FEELING AND PURPOSE IN THE HEART OF GOD. The father holds forgiveness of the prodigal in his heart long before the son comes back.
II. THE EXPRESSION OF THE FORGIVENESS TO THOSE WHO HAVE SINNED. This is made in Scripture promises, and in the words and works of Christ.
III. THE APPREHENSION OF THE FORGIVENESS BY THOSE WHO NEED IT. This only can be known by the penitent. On the figure used in the text, which recalls the blotting out of a cloud from the sky, Maclaren says, "Sin is but the cloud, as it were, behind which the everlasting sun lies in all its power and warmth, unaffected by the cloud; and the light will yet strike, the light of his love will yet pierce through, with its merciful shafts, bringing healing in their beams, and dispersing all the pitchy darkness of man's transgressions. And as the mists gather themselves up and roll away, dissipated by the heat of that sun in the upper sky, and reveal the fair earth below, so the love of Christ shines in, melting the mist and dissipating the fog, thinning it off in its thickest places, and at last piercing its way right through it, down to the heart of the man that has been lying beneath the oppression of this thick darkness." - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.