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  • Jeff Kent

Forgetting and Remembering

Philippians 3:13; 2 Peter 1:9


We are creatures of time and memory. The things which happen to us in time (especially what is significant, traumatic, thrilling, satisfying, etc.) are indelibly etched in our memory. We can recall these events at will and “remember” them, savoring the good and cringing again at what was troubling. When it comes to things spiritual, Dr. Del Tackett observes that we tend to forget what we should remember and to remember what we should forget. I tend to agree with him, but Paul and Peter noted this before we did.

Paul (Philippians 3) recounts everything which he used to put stock in of his Hebrew background: ancestry, zeal in persecuting the church, blameless keeping of the law, et al. He relates, however, that he has given all of this up to gain Christ and to know Him. He has come to believe that Christ is of far greater value than anything he previously had. Thus, he purposes to forget all of those things which he used to hold dear and to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” In doing so, he sets the example for us to do the same - not to look back longingly at what you have given up for Christ. Cut yourself loose from your past idols and weaknesses and press on to the goal of knowing Christ Jesus.

Peter (2 Peter 1), on the other hand, reminds his readers that there is something which they dare not forget. He notes the “precious and magnificent promises” which have been made to Christians and exhorts them to be diligent to progress in various qualities of discipleship: faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love. If they do this, they will be effective and fruitful in the true knowledge of Christ, but if they do not, they will even forget they have been purified from their sins. For Peter it is most important that we remember that we were dead in sin and that Christ Jesus has cleansed us from every one of them! We are indebted to Him for His love and His cross.

So, what do you need to forget? What do you need to remember? Hmmm?

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