I remember when my kids were very young and what delight they got out of playing peek-a-boo. I would cover my eyes and then suddenly pull them away, yelling peek-a-boo! It was like it was new every time we played. It didn't get old until they got older and then it took much more to keep them entertained.
As Christians we sometimes still like to play peek-a-boo. Except now it is not so delightful and it does get old fast.
We know by the Word of the Bible that Jesus came to earth, born as a baby, lived and died as a man on the cross, rose again and now sits with the Father in heaven. Why did He come? He came that we might find the only way back to fellowship with the Father. Sin had separated us from God in the garden of Eden and up until Jesus came, the only covering we, as mankind had for sin was for an animal to be sacrificed on the alter in the Holy of Holies. Once a year the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and sacrifice an animal with great ceremony and ritual and make a blood offering to cover the sins of the people for the next year. Each year following, the same thing was done again, and again, and again.
Christ came that there would be a better way. He became our High Priest and made that blood offering for us, once...for all. He made that sacrifice as a man, born of a virgin, and since man can only die once, that act was done and as He said on the cross, "It is finished".
He came, not so that our sins would just be covered as in days gone by, but that our sins would be erased, eradicated, or as it says in Hebrews 10:17, "Their sins and iniquities I will remember no more." Gone, disappeared, departed, vanished. Good-bye, adios, and sayonara. Psalms 103:12 puts it this way, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions (sins) from us." That means that as far east as you can go, you will never be west. If you draw a line going east, it goes on into eternity. That's as far as far can get. I was thinking about this the other day. Why would it say that? Not only that He has forgotten our sins, but that He has taken them as far from us as is possible.
That brought me to when Jesus, on the cross cried, "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?" God did not turn His back on His Son, but rather on our sin. The sins of mankind so ugly, so dark were at that moment all carried on the back of Jesus. He died for every human, for every sin. Personally I believe that the reason that God says that He remembers our sins no more, that He has removed them as far as east is from west is because to remember our sins again would be to remember that ugliness that Jesus carried. He never again wanted to remember His beloved Son, so pure and so holy marred by the blackness of our iniquities. He has chosen to forget them, rather than to dwell on the past and what was annihilated, eliminated, and expunged on the cross.
So if the Word of God is true, all of it, then this is truth too. Our sins are gone, not just whited-out. Imagine a mud stain on a white shirt. Now imagine that mud stain has a stain of blood on top of it. It sits and that becomes hard and crusty. IF you could get that blood stain out with some industrial strength cleaner, every last bit of it, then the mud that was underneath would come out also. IF the blood came away, so would the original stain.
So why do we live in regret, looking in the rearview mirror all the time. Why do we re-hash our past mistakes and sins, when God says He has forgiven them? Why, if we have repented and asked forgiveness do we act like those ascetics of old who would flagellate themselves with a whip as some kind of penance for their sins?
Through Christ we are freed from that bondage of sin. We are exonerated, free to leave that prison of self-condemnation, because if God has set us free, we are free indeed. No more peek-a-boo with our past sins to see if they are still there. No more closing our eyes hoping that we won't see our sins again. Open your eyes wide and see that the God who loves you, who formed you has also forgiven you and wants you to walk in the bright light of day, free and pardoned, now and always.