For example, "Forget."
Although the Bible normally uses the word "forgive," several verses say God forgets our sins (e.g. Isaiah 43:25).
"Forget" has several meanings, and in this context it means God no longer holds our sins against us. At the final judgment, God gives us eternal life on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, not according to what our sins deserve (Romans 6:23).
We use forget this way when someone says, "I owe you for lunch," and we say "forget it." We're telling them we'll pay for it. We're not telling them to put it out of their minds.
Likewise, God retains a memory/knowledge of our sins after He's erased them from our "accounts payable":
1. He’s still all-knowing (Hebrews 4:12-13).(1)
2. He still examines hearts (Jeremiah 17:10).(2)
3. He still disciplines us for our sins (Hebrews 12:3-11).(3)
4. He still calls us to account for our sins at the final judgment (2 Cor. 5:9-10).(4)
5. He still helps us overcome our sins (Philippians 2:12-13).(5)
(1) See Forgive and Forget
(2) See The God Who Wants to Be our Father
(3) See God Punishes and Discipline, Punishment, Condemnation
(4) See Final Judgment
(5) We want God to know our history so He can help us recognize underlying problems and patterns of sin, weaknesses and addictive behavior. See Doing Our Part
1. Forget is an alternative meaning for forgive, but it also might be considered figurative language. Did you know that God uses figurative language in Scripture - language not meant to be taken literally? See the examples below.
1 Chronicles 16:33
This doesn't mean that anything in the Bible is untrue. Every word is true. But not every word is meant to be taken literally. God can and does use poetry, prose, metaphor, simile, and figurative language in places where it is easy for us to identify the true meaning. If we insist every word is meant literally, we must believe rivers and trees have literal hands, mountains have literal singing voices, the sun goes into a literal tent at night, and literal talking dogs were in the church misleading Christians about the Gospel.
To read more on this subject:
"Taking the Bible Literally"
The Use of Figurative Language in Scripture
What Does it Mean to Interpret the Bible Literally?
2. Nothing could be clearer than these verses. God sees our sins. Forgiveness means we won't pay the penalty, but it doesn't mean that God will not address our sins both in the present and in the final judgement. Scripture tells us that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes when we reach heaven (Revelation 21:4). Perhaps the last tears we cry will be from fully recognizing how our sins hurt the Lord. This may be a step in our perfection - a deeper understanding of Christ's loving sacrifice than we ever understood here on earth (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:12).
Hebrews 4:13: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Matthew 12:36: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. ~Jesus
1 Peter 4:17: For it is time for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com