By Shawn McMullen
Memorial Day honors the memory of the men and women who died serving the United States. We owe them a great debt, and it’s only fitting that we have a national holiday to remind us each year of their sacrifice—a sacrifice American citizens can’t afford to forget.
In a similar way, citizens of Heaven need to be reminded of the truths that are foundational to our faith. The apostle Peter began his second letter by challenging believers to grow in Christian character. He concluded his instructions with, “For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10, 11).
Because Peter knew his readers’ hope hinged on these directives, he wrote,
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (vv. 12-15).
Even with the best intentions, God’s people can forget the most basic biblical truths. We read our Bibles and have a solid grasp on doctrine, but often forget to apply our knowledge to our circumstances.
We know Christ died for our sins, but we don’t own the truth. Instead, we are consumed with guilt and remorse over the sins and failures in our lives, “forgetting that [we] have been cleansed from [our] past sins” (v. 9).
We know God calls us to a holy life (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3) and provides a way of escape from every temptation (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). But we have a way of suppressing these truths, blocking them from our consciences when we’re bent on satisfying the desires of the flesh.
We know we must “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), but we conveniently succumb to selective amnesia when we’re angry with a brother or sister in Christ or find ourselves in church-related disagreements.
We know, but often we forget.
Thankfully, we have an antidote for forgetfulness—the Word of God. Peter put his words in writing as a permanent reminder for believers—instructions that could be read over and over. God then preserved Peter’s words in Scripture.
As often as we read God’s Word—and reminders like Peter’s—we’re called back to these important truths. It follows that the more time we spend in the Word, the more we keep it in our hearts, the more likely we will be to recall these truths when we most need them.
For the record, Peter was simply continuing an age-old practice. Moses gave his parting instructions to the Israelites and said, “These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts” (Deuteronomy 6:6). The psalmist noted, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
Let’s spend more time in the Word—and remember.