I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.
I. THE RECIPIENTS OF MERCY. Look at the 22nd verse, and you will see —
1. That they were prayerless people.
2. They were despisers of religion. "Thou hast been weary of Me, O Israel."
3. Thankless people. "Thou hast not brought Me the small cattle of thy burnt-offerings."
4. A useless people. Neither hast thou filled Me with the fat, etc.
5. There are some who may be termed sanctuary sinners — sinners in Zion, and these are the worst of sinners.
6. We have here men who had wearied God: "Thou hast made Me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied Me with thine iniquities."
II. THE DEED OF MERCY. It is a deed of forgiveness.
1. A Divine forgiveness. "I, even I, am He." Divine pardon is the only forgiveness possible; for no one can remit sin but God only.
2. Surprising forgiveness; for the text speaks as if God Himself were surprised that such sins should be remitted: "I, even I"; it is so surprising that it is repeated in this way, lest any of us should doubt it.
3. A present forgiveness.
4. A complete forgiveness. The bond is destroyed, and He will not demand payment again.
III. THE REASON FOR MERCY. Says one poor sinner, "Why should God forgive me? I am sure there is no reason why He should, for I have never done anything to deserve His mercy." Hear what God says, "I am not about to forgive you for your own sake, but for My own sake." "But, Lord, I shall not be thankful enough." "I am not about to pardon you because of your gratitude, but for My name's sake." "But, Lord, if I am taken into Thy Church, I can do very little for Thy cause in future years, for I have spent my best days in the devil's service; surely the impure dregs of my life cannot be sweet to Thee, O God." "I will not engage to forgive you for your sake, but for My own; I do not want you," says God; "I can do as well without you as with you. I forgive you, therefore, for My own sake." Is there no hope for a guilty sinner here?
IV. THE PROMISE OF MERCY. "I will not remember thy sins." Is it possible for God to forget? Not as to the absolute fact of the committal of the deed, but there are senses in which the expression is entirely accurate.
1. He will not exact punishment for them when we come before His judgment bar at last. The Christian will have many accusers. The devil will come and say, "That man is a great sinner." Let all the demons of the pit clamour in God's ear, and let them vehemently shout out a list of our sins, we may stand boldly forth at that great day and sing, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" The judge does not remember it, and who then shall punish?"
2. "I will not remember thy sins to suspect thee." There is a father, and he has had a wayward son, who went away that he might live a life of profligacy; but after a while he comes home again in a state of penitence. The father says, "I will forgive thee." But he says next day to his younger son, "There is business to be done at a distant town to-morrow, and here is the money for you to do it with." He does not trust the returned prodigal with it. "I have trusted him before with money," says the father to himself, "and he robbed me, and it makes me afraid to trust him again;" but our heavenly Father says, "I will not remember thy sins." He not only forgives the past, but trusts His people with precious talents.
3. He will not remember in His distribution of the recompense of the reward. The earthly parent will kindly pass over the faults of the prodigal; but you know, when that father comes to die, and is about to make his will, the lawyer sitting by his side, he says, "I shall give so much to William, who always behaved well, and my other son he shall have so-and-so, and my daughter, she shall have so much; but there is that prodigal, I spent a large sum upon him when he was young, but he wasted what he received, and though I have taken him again into favour, and for the present be is going on well, still I think I must make a little difference between him and the others; I think it would not be fair — though I have forgiven him — to treat him precisely as the rest." And so the lawyer puts him down for a few hundred pounds, while the others, perhaps, get their thousands. But God will not remember your sins like that; He gives all an inheritance. He will give heaven to the chief of sinners as well as the chief of saints.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.