Can you remember a time when the news you heard was predominantly about how much better things are now than what used to be the case? It is certainly true that we look back on those days that are past and think of how much better they were than now. But it seems always to be the case that people believe the present days are horrible and getting worse. Having lived a few years now and been preaching for over a half century offers some perspective on church things and preachers with their preaching. The truth is that preachers tend to the very worst at telling us the bad news. Before there were TV preachers shouting that all the signs were pointing to this being the end times, there were radio preachers doing so. Before there were radio preachers there were revivalist who traveled this country and all over Europe declaring that the signs were all there that the end times are upon us. If you are like me and enjoy reading the preaching and writing of preachers from 200 – 1,000 years ago it is almost amusing to see the exact same points made and applied to all kinds of different people who were the anti-Christ or the man of sin spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2. I don’t know when the Lord will come again. I suspect that most of us will meet the Lord through death long before the second coming takes place. What is so amazing to me about this whole things is that we as preachers all wear the name “Gospel preachers.” Do you remember what the word “Gospel” means? It is the word for “Good news.” So our names shout to the world that we are “Good news preachers.” Yet most of the ones you hear through the media have long since forgotten that mission and have become as bad or worse than the news media at screaming bad news at their listeners.
In Hebrews 6 the writer had been led by the Holy Spirit to tell them they needed to grow up and had warned them of the danger of falling away from God and losing their soul if they didn’t grow up. But it is vitally important to notice what he said next to them in verses 9-12. “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case – the things that have to do with salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Picture this elderly preacher who had worked with the church for many years and is concerned about the direction of the church now that he has moved out of his work with them. He certainly wanted them to see the danger before them and to not settle down in their walk with God so that they didn’t grow up and continue with passion their service to the Lord. But as he writes he desperately wants them to know of his confidence in them. There was danger ahead. But he sure wanted them to know that he believed BETTER THINGS WERE TRUE FOR THEM. Often I’ve sat with young people either in their teens or as young adults who just didn’t believe they were capable of doing much for the Lord. They saw themselves as mess ups who could never get anything right. I’ll never forget sitting with one young man who was in jail at the time. I had known him most of his life and was talking to him about why he had gotten involved in the things that led to him being in jail. He told me that he had been told as long as he could remember that he couldn’t do anything right and would end up in jail or prison so it was just going as he had expected. Sometimes parents or coaches think they can motivate a young person to do better by telling them how awful they are. It seldom works that way. Instead our words tend to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. It is so important as parents, teachers, coaches, and preachers that we tell people young and old alike how we believe better things of them and things that accompany salvation. Sure we can go too far and convince a child they can do nothing wrong. But we need everyone to believe they can do right and be right with God all the time.
Notice in connection with these things that accompany salvation he pointed out that God is not unjust. He doesn’t forget the things we have done that were right and good. It is interesting that the things we normally think that God will be certain to remember, he doesn’t and the things we are sure he doesn’t remember, he does. In Hebrews 8:7-13 he described how we are under the new covenant Jeremiah foretold and if we are in the covenant relationship with the Lord, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” So, once our sins or evil deeds have been forgiven by God, he never remembers them again. The Psalmist said that as far as the east is from the west our sins are hidden from God once forgiven. So, if we give our lives to the Lord and are baptized into Christ our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16). Anything then that was done wrong before we became a Christian will never be remembered by God. Then in I John 1:9 we are told that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As a Christian sins confessed to him are completely forgiven and are never remembered by God again. Also in verse 7 of I John 1 he said, “If we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our sins.” When we are living in a relationship with the Lord, walking with him, striving to be what he wants us to be, his blood is constantly cleansing us from all our sins. Those sins committed as we are walking with the Lord trying to please him and be what he wants us to be are never remembered by God again because they are cleansed in the blood. What an amazing point for us to get. Sins once forgiven by God when we become a Christian, when we fail as a Christian and confess the sins or sins committed as we walk with the Lord trying to do right are all forgiven by God, cleansed in the blood and never remembered by God again.
On the other hand, the things we do that are right, pleasing to God and helpful to other people are never forgotten by God. He remembers the times we helped a child in need, the elderly person needing a hand, a young couple struggling with their marriage or someone in life who was worried about their faith. God remembers what we do to help someone else. Most of the time, we forget those good deeds that we did years ago. And we remember the things we did wrong or the times when we failed to do the right thing. It is terribly hard for us to ever get those things out of our mind. Yet God completely forgets them. He can’t get out of his mind all the things we have done along the way that helped someone else. Knowing what God remembers and what he forgets, should lead us to “Show the same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.” It should keep us from ever becoming lazy, and lead us to be on the grow for God all our lives.
Imagine that day around the throne of God when we stand before him and he begins to tell us all those things he remembers about us when we were doing things to help someone else in their struggles or problems in life. It will be like God showing us old movies of all our good things that we had forgotten about our lives. Praise the Lord, he never forgets the good things we’ve done and never remembers the things we did wrong but are forgiven.
Think today of someone you know that needs some encouragement in their life. They need someone to say to them, “I’m convinced of better things of you and things that accompany salvation.” Paint for some young person a picture of what you believe they can do for good in the days to come. Give them a prophesy that can lift them up and point them in the right direction. You can change their future and change their eternity. You can do it. I’m convinced of better things of you.