Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be you confounded; for you shall not be put to shame…
? — In looking forward to heaven, two questions have stirred the minds and hearts of most Christians: Shall I remember my sins in heaven?" and "If I remember my sins in heaven, will not the recollection mar my joy, and interfere with my blessedness?" These questions are not idle. They originate with that consciousness of depravity which is the first step towards our personal salvation, and they recur in connection with the dispensation of Divine mercy. Our condition prompts the inquiry, and the reply will reveal to us the unsearchable riches of Divine grace. The questions resolve themselves into this: Will the dispensation of Divine mercy, when it has done its work, blot out all the mischievous consequences of sin? The text guides our reply. There was a people taken up by God when in circumstances of great degradation. They are brought into the closest connection with Him — into such a connection as that the conjugal union is the best possible representation of it.. God is faithful to this people, but they are faithless to Him. He institutes means to bring them back to Himself, and He does bring them back. Then, speaking of their restoration, He says, "Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed, ' etc. In the realization of their restoration, they shall (in a certain sense) forget their apostacy. We declare our belief that, in heaven, you will not so remember your sins as to have your happiness interfered with by the recollection, and that whatever remembrance you have of the apostacy and depravity, will rather be the occasion of increasing your blessedness and joy, than of interfering with the one, or of marring the other. The remembrance of sin did exist under the Levitical dispensation; but in the dispensation of Christ there is nothing at all analogous to the annually recurring day of atonement (Hebrews 10:17). So far as our intercourse with God and the cherishing of bright prospects are concerned there is to be a complete forgetfulness of sin. With respect to heaven, we put before you two remarks.
I. THERE IS A RECOLLECTION INEVITABLE. The identity of passions will involve an identity of consciousness. What are the recollections which are inevitable?
1. "I was a sinner."
2. "I was restored to God by such means and under such influences."
II. THERE IS A REMEMBRANCE OF SINS IMPOSSIBLE. There is one suggestion that seems of importance here. It is that by and by memory will not be the faculty chiefly exercised and put forth. When is it that we live most in the past? It is when we are sad. In heaven there will be no sadness, no solitude, no fear, no carefulness. Memory, therefore, will not be goaded as now. Memory will then have an inferior place. Observation and penetration will be the chief mental exercises of heaven. A man will be surrounded by objects of intense interest, all connected with God. The commanding recollection of sin will therefore be impossible. The remembrance of sin in heaven will always be connected with the consciousness that sin has been blotted out. This will awaken thankfulness; and joy, with gratitude, will flow through the soul as a large and mighty river. Nothing in God's conduct in heaven will put sin forward. Then, within yourselves there will be complete and conscious holiness. Look at another fact. You may have had companions here in iniquity, but you will have no unsaved companions in sin with you there. You may recognize persons with whom you trod the broad road, but you will there recognize them as redeemed beings; and, just as in your own case, the commanding thought is not sin but forgiveness, so with them the commanding association will be the wonderfulness of their redemption; not the depth of their apostacy and the length of their wanderings; so that their presence, instead of forcing upon you a remembrance of guilt, will only magnify before your eye and your heart the unsearchable riches of God's grace and mercy. You will be employed by and by. Your employment will be all-absorbing, and it will be constant. Why should we talk to you about this? If you have a secret idea, or rather an impression, that there must be some limitation to God's mercy, that it will not secure all this blotting out, what is the consequence? The effect is to limit your application to this pro-vision — you do not take full advantage of the riches of God's mercy.
Parallel VersesKJV: Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
WEB: "Don't be afraid; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be confounded; for you shall not be disappointed: for you shall forget the shame of your youth; and the reproach of your widowhood you shall remember no more.