A Theology of Remembering: Revisiting Important Things

Posted: October 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

remember-saidaonlineTwo weeks ago I was able to attend a conference in Dallas, TX. The opening session featured Dr. David Powlison, author of numerous books and the current Executive Director of CCEF. The big idea that has stuck with me from Dr. Powlison’s opening address was that the things we revisit are often those things that make the biggest impact.

Think about the idea for a moment. Doesn’t it immediately makes sense and seem right? There are things that we go back to over and over again because they have been so helpful to us. Maybe we return to something helpful that our parents taught us. It is possible that we have learned something in a classroom that has stuck with us over the years and helped us navigate life. Or perhaps your pastor has preached a sermon that was so powerful that you continually return to the truths that were communicated through that message. Whether it is a favorite quote, Bible verse, or just a general idea, you get the point. There are things we return to because they have had a lasting and profound impact.

I would assert that we are often not impacted like we could be by sermons or quotes or verses or theological ideas precisely because we never revisit the things we learn. Think about Sunday morning sermons. How often have you walked away from church and by the time you arrived home you have completely forgotten what the sermon was about!?! I know I’ve done this. Yet, think about how much impact a sermon would have on your life if throughout the week you revisited the things you heard. Consider how God might work in your life if you revisited daily for a week the passage you studied during a Wednesday night Bible study. Or, how much impact on your life would your parents have had if you revisited, thought about, meditated on, the wisdom they tried to impart to you as they raised you?

The fact is, we need a theology of remembrance. We need to remember things. And I don’t mean we simply need to remember to do something, or memorize a verse, etc. What I mean is that we need to revisit things by calling to mind and dwelling on previous truths we have heard. We need to go back to the basics at times and think over what we “already know.” We need to go back to tough passages and wrestle with them again and again. We should do this, because it seems that Dr. Powlison was right: what impacts us the most are those things that we revisit.

Consider Paul as he writes to the Ephesians. He has planted this church, spent significant time with the people in Ephesus, and knows that they have been taught the gospel and so much theology. Yet, he writes them and throughout the first three chapters calls them to remember the things they already knew to be true. He reminds them that they have been chosen, predestined, adopted, reconciled, forgiven, marked by the Spirit, and a host of other things (see Eph 1:3-14). He also wants them to see more and more of what God has done for them in Christ (1:15-23). He preaches the gospel (through the written word) to them in clear terms (2:1-10), and then wants the Gentiles to “remember” what they “once” were and “now” what they are because of Jesus (2:11-22). There is a lot to unpack in Ephesians, but it is clear that Paul is hammering out things that many of them know in part, but need to remember.

There is more to be said but you get the picture. We need to revisit important things. Specifically, I would say we need to revisit the gospel. We need to dwell on who we were apart from Jesus, what God through Jesus has done for us, and what the results of our faith in Jesus are. Revisit the gospel today and dwell on its glorious truths.

Here are some other things to remember:

1. God is Creator (Genesis 1:1)–remember that all things find their origin in the mind and creative act of God. He is creator, all else is created.

2. God is one and there is no other  (Deut 6:4; Is 45: 5)–there are no rivals to the throne! Only worship of the God of the Bible through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit is worship rightly exercised.

3. God is in complete control (Eph 1:11)--God is working the whole of human history according to his divine plan. There are no “maverick molecules” (R.C. Sproul).

4. Jesus alone can save (John 14:6; 1 John 5:12; Acts 4:11-12)–there is no other way than through faith in Jesus to be justified before a holy God (Rom 5:1). And the good news is, all it takes is faith in Jesus to be reconciled to the Father!

5. Jesus will return (1 Thess 4:16-17, Rev 19)–there is a day coming when all the tears are wiped away, the enemies of God and his people are crushed, and the kingdom is ushered in fully and finally. We long for that day.

These are all glorious things and so many more ideas and truths call for our attention. Maybe start today by remembering something from this list. Or perhaps return to a favorite sermon or Bible verse or Bible passage. I’m certain you will see that tere are things worth remembering.

  1. Jonathon says:

    Reblogged this on Blogournal and commented:

    The things we revisit are often those things that makes the biggest impact on our lives.

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