Admittedly, history was not a favored subject when I was in school. Other than things relating to Abraham Lincoln, (which remains a valued study) history had no appeal to me whatsoever! But after being exposed to some very interesting artifacts many years ago, history has become enjoyment for me, especially if it concerns the Lord’s church or my “stomping ground” of youth. I’m a “life member” of two historical societies in Ohio and an avid student of history concerning the Lord’s church and the places where it exists. Therefore, it is not uncommon for me to receive messages from friends asking, “Do you remember?”
Our infatuation with God’s word needs to be even more enthusiastic regarding our absorption of its content. The word “remember” appears some 144 times in Scripture, and the word “remembrance” some 52 times. It was important for the apostles to remember what the Lord taught them, and to assure the correctness of their memory, Jesus promised, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) For all Christians, we are told, “This do in remembrance of Me,” concerning the partaking of the Lord’s memorial. (1 Cor. 11:24).
What is critical to “remembering” is the initial knowledge! You can’t remember something you’ve never known! Even when someone says, “Tell me what it was like …” you can recall every sensation as you relate whatever experience they’ve asked you to relate. But the one asking can’t do that; at best they can only imagine the experience as you relate even the most vivid of details. They don’t remember the actual event … they only remember what you’ve told them! Granted, the more they hear the story, the more they might imagine themselves to have been a part of the story. That’s what teachers mean when they encourage their students to “put themselves into the story” when they study the Scriptures. Still, at best they can but obtain a mental picture of how it was and how they may have reacted. Even then, they can’t remember anything they’ve never known!
1 John 2:3 tells us how to “know” Jesus Christ. “Hereby we do know that we know Him if we keep His commandments.” This is the only way to “experience” Him. Via this obedience, the soul experiences death: he must put the old man of sin to death (Rom. 6:6). He experiences burial (ibid.) and he experiences resurrection (ibid.) This is of spiritual nature, nonetheless, is the only means by which knowledge of Jesus Christ is obtained! Unless you KNOW Him through this means, you do NOT know Him! If you do not KNOW Him, you can’t REMEMBER Him!
While written to the Hebrew brethren, Paul’s statement has a great impact on us Gentiles. He said, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” (Heb. 10: 32 – 33) Proving this observation, simply read Ephesians 2:11 – 13: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (See, we aren’t much different from the Jews!) Why should we remember the past? Simply to discourage us from returning to sin and degradation that takes us away from God and eternity with Him!
Finally, how can we as Christians effectively teach Christ and Him crucified to a lost and dying world without a REMEMBRANCE of His word? Not so many years ago, Christians were known as “walking Bibles” because of their ready recall of God’s word. Nowadays, we hear, “Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible?” or “It says something like …” or the more popular, “I think it says … but I don’t remember exactly.” Each statement is an admission of “lack of knowledge.” Lack of knowledge comes from lack of study, and lack of study comes from lack of interest. It’s truly that simple! Therefore, it is right to ask, “Aren’t you interested in going to heaven? Aren’t you willing to study and learn what you must do and continue to do to get there? Don’t you want a knowledge of God and godly things?” (See 2 Peter 1:3) Sadly, many will answer the aforementioned with, “No, not really. I’ll just sit and listen and try to behave myself. I’ll be fine.” No, friend, you won’t be! You need to come to the knowledge of the truth! (1 Tim. 2:4)
Unless we gain a knowledge of Him, He won’t gain a knowledge of us! Read carefully Matthew 7:21 – 23. Like us, Jesus cannot remember what He never knew! Unless we obey Him, He cannot know us. And unless we obey Him, we cannot know Him. Oh how much we should love