I Will Remember (2)

  • Here we go with Part 2. In Part 1 we studied a man called Asaph in Psalms 77 and discovered that he employed the same method of praise that Hezekiah did when confronted by Sennacherib. Now we move into the New Testament scriptures that reveal the great grace and love of God and Paul and Peter’s instruction to remember. So here we go.

    Ephesians 2 invokes us to remember that we were once aliens in a foreign land. We were out of the fold, outside the household of God. But then…..God did something that works for everyone. Just look at these scriptures in Ephesians 2:1-16.

    1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.

    Notice the past tense of this verse. “Once you were…”

    You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

    And again it’s past tense. “You used to live in sin…”

    All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

    But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,

    Another one of the big “Buts” in the bible. A “but” always abolishes everything that comes before it. So it’s as if verses 1-3 are not even there.

    that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

    Even though, God still GAVE.

    For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

    That statement “seated us with Him in the heavenly realm” is not just a catchy theological preaching point. It is Truth. It is real. We are seated in heavenly places in Him and we need to see ourselves there.

    So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

    We are God’s great examples of Truth and we need to REMEMBER that.

    God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

    God had a plan for us long ago. Our days are scheduled in his heavenly calendar and His plan will be accomplished.

    11 Don’t forget (In other words REMEMBER) that you Gentiles used to be (Oh Oh. Past tense again) outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

    Two more big Buts in this verse. Remember that all that past stuff like being outsiders, being called uncircumcised heathens, living apart from Christ, being excluded from citizenship, living in this world without God and without hope. That’s all gone because of the big but. Now we have been brought near to Him through Jesus.

    Oh someone ought to shout right here, and never forget this. I will remember where I used to be and what God did that brought me into the household of His glorious Kingdom.

    14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.

    Jesus is not going to do it. He has done it. It’s finished.

    15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.

    OH OH. The religious legalistic crowd is not going to like this. I mean scripture actually says that the way Jesus brought peace to us and united us was by “ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations”.

    That tells me there is no pasted on behavioral performance based law system that can reward you with right standing with God. Why? Because Jesus ended it. It’s gone, debunked, obliterated, abolished. Also, God cannot give to you as a reward, that which is already yours through inheritance. Yay God!!

    16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

    Now this is good and something to remember. I will remember. Yet how many forget this and default to trying to achieve or perform for God. The only result of works unto righteousness is that you will get tired and burn out. A burnt out light cannot shine in the darkness.

    Let me say that God is not hard to please, although He may be hard to satisfy. He expects of us only what he himself first supplied, and there’s the rub. We are trying to satisfy God by our own performance rather than embracing what He has already done.

    God loves us for ourselves, not for our efforts to please Him. He values our love more than our performance. He valued our lives more than He valued His son’s life. He sacrificed the very life, for those who caused the death, of the very life He sacrificed.

    It was Jesus who said in Luke 22:19 “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”

    Paul never forgot, but remembered. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 Paul writes:

    23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

    Paul was saying “I remember” what the Lord Jesus said and I’m not going to forget it.

    Peter in 2 Peter 1 verse 12 declares that he will not be negligent to remind us about “these things”. What things? The things he spoke about in verses 1-11. All that we are, have, and are going to be based on what Jesus has done. He will keep us in remembrance of these things and that is our pledge. To keep reminding people about who they are in Christ and who He is in them.

    It’s all about what He has done for you, not what you can try to do for him. God is not honored by me denying what He’s done for me. Jesus took what I deserve to give me what He deserves. It’s not pride for me to receive what I deserve through Him. I will remember that.

    I will remember the promises of God and put a demand on them. I will remember that even when I fall down, there is a nail scarred hand extended gently and kindly toward me to help pick me up. Not a religious jack booted legalist who will kick me when I’m down.

    Finally, I will no longer beat myself up with my old sins, but instead I will remember that He forgave and forgot them. Then I will remember to do what Asaph did. Begin telling God He’s God. Maker of heaven and earth and sea and all that in them is. That right there makes the 24 elders fall on the ground and the Angels scream Hallelujah!!! Now that ought to set you free. Grace and Peace.