Does God forget our Sins?

Does God forget our Sins?

By Deejo | Thinking-Out-Loud | 31 Jul 2021

People say that God forgets our sins. The Bible does not actually use the word "forget" in reference to our sin. The word "zakhar" (זכר) means to remember or to bring to remembrance. Just as the rainbow will bring to mind the promise to not send a global flood on earth again. This is the "remember" that is meant with this word zakhar.

“When the rainbow is in the cloud, then I will look at it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
- Genesis 9:16

Also a passage where God remembered Noah and took action...

But God remembered Noah and all the animals and all the livestock that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.
- Genesis 8:1

So He remembered or brought to memory or thought about Noah and took action. It's not that he forgot about Noah and his circumstances like we sometimes forget. This is different from not remembering in this sense. We may forget how to do something, or forget something that we were told, etc. but to "not remember" is more to not bring about the thought. How many times have you wanted to remember something so you think about it to bring it up? This is what is meant by the word "zakhar".

"I am Yahweh, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King."...
"I, I [alone,] am the one who wipes out your wrongdoings for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.
- Isaiah 43:15 & 25

- Hebrews 10:17
(This passage references Jeremiah 31:34)

I've included the definition of this word from the book "The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible" by Jeff A. Benner. 


When Yahweh says He will remember no more, He will not recall or bring to His memory the sins that He has forgiven. So does He forget our sins? I don't think He does, but He chooses not to think on them or bring them to remembrance.

I thought I was going to stop here, but then after having a conversation I decided to add a little more about the word remember in the Bible.

It appears that in the instances when "Yahweh remembered" or "God remembered" it was always followed by an action of compassion. When the people of Israel remembered it was followed by repentance and turning back to Yahweh. People would forget the good that Yahweh had done for them and when they remembered, they turned back to Him.

Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.
- Gen 30:22

And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before Yahweh, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and Yahweh remembered her.
Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, [saying], Because I have asked him of Yahweh.

- 1 Samuel 1:19-20 [KJV]

But God remembered Noah and all the animals and all the livestock that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.
- Genesis 8:1

There are just a few examples. The only time I found that God remembered and He wasn't merciful or compassionate was in the book of Revelation when He poured out His wrath on Babylon which is in the end of days. As you see in these examples, when He remembered He had compassion and opened the wombs of Rachel and Ramah and He sent wind to dry up the water after the flood for Noah. 

My conclusion is that the way we think of the words remember and forget in our western society does not have exactly the same meaning as these words in the Bible. At the same time even though God does not "forget" our sins that have been forgiven, He also does not bring them to remembrance because of His great compassion. 

Thank you for reading. May Yahweh bless you abundantly.



     (The images are public domain from

All scripture quotations taken from the NASB©.
Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.



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