Traditional Legal Model – When payment in blood has been made and accepted by the sinner, the debt of his guilt and record of his sin is blotted out.
Biblical Healing Model – Sins are blotted out from a person’s actions and thinking. The tendency to give in to temptation has been overcome. It is not a case of them being blotted out from record books.
David spoke of his sin being blotted out with the context showing his desire was to have them blotted from his life not from record books.
“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psa 51:2)
It was “wash me” and cleanse me,” not “erase my record.”
Blot: Three Possible Scriptural Meanings
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives three main meanings of blot as related to Biblical usage:
- In scripture,  to blot one out of the book of life, is to reject him from the number of those who are to be saved.  To blot out a name, a person or a nation, is to destroy the person or nation; to exterminate or consume. To blot out sins, is to forgive them. Sins are compared to debts, which are recorded in God’s book of remembrance, and when paid, are crossed or cancelled. (http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/blot)
Looking at each of those options:
 Names can be blotted out of the book of life signifying that a person is lost. See the definition of “books” for a discussion of blotting of names in relation to the record books of heaven. This is expressed by this verse:
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels” (Rev 3:5)
 Total destruction to the point their name is not even remembered.
“Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.” (Deut 9:14)
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” (Exo 17:14)
 In this study, we are concerned with the blotting out of actual sins.
Blotting Out Sins: Two Major Views
The question is: What does it mean for sins to be blotted out? There are two major views of what is actually blotted out: – sins themselves or merely the record of them. We will look at the two views and see if scripture and even common sense agrees with either one. First, from the common Christian understanding:
“The picture is that our sin is recorded in a heavenly book. The bookkeeper is God, and our sins are entered in a ledger in our debit column. … To those who have faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, God applies the blood of Christ to our sin and cancels the debt we owe Him. Only the blood of the spotless Lamb of God can blot out our transgressions, erase our debits, and make us clean before God.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/blot-out-our-transgressions.html)
Here is a less-common view:
“… the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, — blots out all iniquity … We need to be on our guard against the idea that the blotting out of sin is merely as the passing of a sponge over a slate, or an entry in a ledger, to balance the account. This is not the blotting out of sin. An ignorant man who saw a thermometer for the first time thought to lessen the heat by breaking it. But how much effect did this have upon the weather?–Just as much as the wiping out of the record of his sin has upon the sinner.
Though all the record of all our sin, even though written with the finger of God, were erased, the sin would remain, because the sin is in us.
The blotting out of sin is the erasing of it from the nature, the being of man. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin…
The erasing of sin is the blotting of it from our natures, so that we shall know it no more… (in other words) they do not think of doing it any more. This is the work of Christ in the true sanctuary…” (E.J. Waggoner, RH, Sep. 30, 1902)
Deciding which view is correct has to be related to the meaning of sin itself and whether or not God even keeps a record of sins for His legal accounting purposes.
Why are Sins Sins?
Sins are sinful not because God has arbitrarily decided that this act should be allowed and another forbidden, but because certain actions harm ourselves and others. Would a God of love be more concerned about a sin hurting us or that there is a record of that sin in His heavenly accounting book; in some thick ledger with your name on it? Is God more concerned with people or records?
If a sin is hurting you, what benefit would there be to you from the record of it being blotted out? Obviously, there is no immediate benefit. Perhaps the benefit of escaping God’s punishment – if you believe that God arbitrarily imposes punishment for sin. So reason and principles such as “God is love” tells us that the problem is the sin itself and not a record of it. If people didn’t sin there would be no question of keeping records of sin. Sin is the root of the problem.
Does God Keep a Record of Sins?
“[love] Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” (1 Cor 13:5)
“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Cor 13:5, NIV)
“or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” (1 Cor 13:5, NLT)
“It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered,” (1 Cor 13:5, NASB)
God does not even keep a record of sins for the purpose of punishment. He does, of course, know all things (omniscience) and does not forget.
Where is Sin Recorded?
“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;” (Jer 17:1)
That is speaking of the individual conscience described in more detail here.
If someone says “God will blot out my sin” what do they mean? Usually, that He will erase the record of them, perhaps forget (as in not even being capable of remembering that we committed them) and not punish us for them. In reality, sin is blotted out from a person in the sense that they no longer have the desire to do it. They will still be physically capable and God is not preventing them from sinning but their characters have been so changed into the likeness of Christ’s character that they would rather die than commit a sin.
What is the most important “sin” to blot out of our experience? See part 8 and part 14 of the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Series. That series of studies has much to say about the process of blotting out of sin.
How Sin is Blotted Out
A sin is an event. You can’t change the fact that it has happened; you can’t go back in time. What this is really talking about is blotting out or removing the sinful tendency from the life; the desire for sin in the mind.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19)
“Blotted out” in that verse is “exaleipho” (G1813). Compare with this verse where “exaleipho” is translated as “wipe away:”
“And God shall wipe away (G1813) all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev 21:4)
God is not physically wiping away tears, rather, as “the former things are passed away,” there will be no more cause for crying – there will be no more tears to wipe away. Likewise, God is not blotting out merely records of sin but the tendency and desire from human hearts to commit sin itself. For such a blessed person there will be no sins to record.
“When” in Acts 3:19 should be translated as “so that” as most versions do which changes the order of events:
|Term Used||Resulting Order of Events|
|"When"||times of refreshing||>>>||sins blotted out|
|"So that"||sins blotted out||>>>||times of refreshing|
And note that the times of refreshing refers to the latter rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit which occurs when God’s followers are prepared for it.
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latterrain.” (James 5:7)
The husbandman, one who tends a vineyard (Gen 9:20), waits for the fruit to ripen which happens when the latter rain falls. God, waiting for His followers to reflect His character (1 John 3:2), gives His presence, His Holy Spirit, when the fruit of the Spirit is manifest in His people and that happens in relation to the process of the blotting out of their sins:
“And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath giventothemthat obey him.” (Acts 5:32)
These two passages make a connection between the blotting out of sins and remission of sins.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:” (Acts 3:19-20)
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
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