This past Monday was the observance of the memory of those who had served in the military of our country. Monuments to their accomplishments through their sacrifice were re-visited across the nation. At Ground Zero, another monument will join their ranks, calling our children`s children to remembrance, lest we forget.
Great value is derived from remembering the right things: good things, great things, important things; things of sacrifice and of service. They set examples and show direction. They give encouragement and engrave values. They pull the challenge of the future into perspective.
In the New Testament, a child of God is told to remember five specific things. Each one has foundation in the past; each one will have a profound impact on his future, on his life and service for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first gives us a proper perception of strangers: we are reminded to entertain them [Hebrews 13:2]. Why should we be kind to those who are unknown to us? Because men have "entertained angels unawares." The greatest friend of your life may be the next friend you meet, and the greatest blessing to your life may be yet to come.
The second gives us a proper perspective of ourselves: we are to remember what manner of men we were [James 1:24,25]. Rather than forgetting how we were before we came to God by Christ, we are to remember that Christ has set us free and we are to continue in God`s perfect law of liberty. We are to remember that we might be blessed in our deeds. How does remembering our old ways allow our new ways in God to be blessed? By keeping the old man in check. As the Apostle Paul declares, "Having put off the old man with his deeds, we are to put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him [Col. 3:9,10].
The third gives us a proper perspective of our Lord: the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin [I John 1:7]. He died once, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God [I Peter 3:18]. We are to remember that we were purged from our old sins [2 Peter 1:9] at the foot of his cross. Our dependency is on Christ. He paid the debt for our sin. We owe to him the joy of our future; he is our Redeemer. Just as we owe a debt to those men and women who have died in battle for our freedom, we owe our spiritual liberty and our eternal redemption to Jesus Christ.
The fourth gives us a clear perspective on rebuke and chastening. Whom the Lord loves, he chastens [Heb. 12:6]. It is impossible to live without sin, over a long period of time. It is possible for a man to rise in the morning, bless his wife and children, work beside his neighbor without argument and return home that night without a cross word or a wrong thought or a wicked deed. It is possible, and the Lord would prefer that we do so. But the Lord also knows that man will eventually think something, say something or do something he should not.
It is possible to do right. The Apostle John declares it to be so: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not" [I John 2:1]. It is probable to do wrong. When we do, and the Spirit of the Lord rebukes us, we are to also remember that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous [I John 2:1]. If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The fifth is the key to keeping our perspective of life: we are to remember our first love toward God [Rev. 2:4]. The moment we first knew his forgiveness and the peace that passes all understanding, we rejoiced in his love for us and found love for him. That first love made our labor for him light and our patience toward others possible. It made our hearts hate evil and love good. It took the sadness from our souls and replaced it with the song of redemption. We are to remember our first love, lest we forget the light in which we are to live.