12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
The word “for” expresses the grounds of what has been said to this point in the quotation.
I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,
God is a God of mercy.
and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
Not remembering is equivalent to forgiveness. Forgiveness of sins is a prerequisite to participate in personal relationship to and fellowship with God. The words in this phrase are repeated in Hebrews 10:17. It is clear from chapters 9 and 10 that Jesus’ sacrifice for sin fulfilled this promise (He 9:15).
The thrust of God’s not remembering is that He will not penalize us for our sins. God can never lose His memory; this is an idiom for not holding our sins against us. He deals with us in mercy and grace. God will never bring our sins before Himself because Christ fully paid for them.
The capstone of the new covenant is forgiveness.
The new covenant removed the barrier between an absolutely holy God and sinful men. Although the new covenant was specifically given to the nation Israel, it is apparent that the salvation benefits listed in verses 10–12 belong to the regenerate of the present age (Lu 22:20; 1 Co 11:25; 2 Co 3:6). The new covenant was God’s vehicle for delivering the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant to Gentiles as well as Jews. The covenantal nation Israel and the church remain distinct except for the blessings of the new covenant.
The law could not deal with sin in the fullest sense. It was only through the sacrifice of Christ that full and final forgiveness was possible (He 10:1–3, 18).