Now a year separated from our big trip to Paris, my wife, myself, my sister, and her husband all love sharing stories about our time there.
The time we tried to walk to the Eiffel Tower from Notre Dame and got lost, having to decipher the metro to get us there. The struggle against jet lag that led to an early evening bedtime. Or the time we made a fool of ourselves in the Louvre, sprinting down hallways to see the Mona Lisa before the crowds came.
We love to relive and recount the memories we made on that trip whenever we get together. The stories have brought continued joy, and the memories seem to grow our friendship as much as the trip itself did.
This joy-inducing practice of remembrance is available to us in our walk with Christ, both personally and corporately. Intentionally setting aside time to remember Christ’s work on the cross and how we have seen his grace at work in our lives can be a wonderful way to increase our faith and joy in the Lord.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19; see also 1 Cor. 11:24).
There are two important aspects to remembrance in the Christian life: the action and the object.
The action is remembrance, which is an intentional looking back, recalling through thoughts and words what has been done. It is a stepping away from what is happening in the present or what will happen in the future, and bringing the past to mind.
The object is Christ. In remembering God through actions and memories, the object is not the bread or the wine; it is not the fun experience you had at summer camp; it isn’t the first time you prayed. Rather, these things are pointers, objects, to help you remember God.
I find it remarkable that Christ said those words in Luke 22:19 during Passover. The Passover festival provided a chance for God’s people to remember what he had done for them—how he had been faithful to their forefathers, how he brought them out of slavery, and how his angel had graciously passed over their blood-covered door posts.
God’s people did plenty of remembering during this time; plenty of Scripture reading, plenty of story sharing. They looked forward to it every year. At the Passover meal when Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” he placed himself at the center of it all, essentially saying: “This is all about me. This has always been about me.”
He says the same message about Scripture in John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”
The call to remember must become a regular part of our Christian walk and our discipleship. Remembering is vital to the maturation of our faith and our intimacy with Jesus.
REMEMBERING CHRIST HELPS YOU FIGHT TEMPTATION
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’” (Eccl. 12:1).
Solomon is uniquely qualified to call out how the human heart can turn against God’s rule. He experienced first-hand how the human heart is inclined to reject the word of God. And the primary way he encourages the reader to combat this sin crouching at the door of all our hearts is to remember.
How will remembering help us fight against the temptation to reject God’s rule?
We need to look no further than the third chapter of the Bible to answer this question. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve faced this temptation. If only they had remembered they were the creation and not the creator. If only they had remembered how God gave them a paradise to live in. If only they had remembered who God was: holy, gracious, faithful, sovereign, kind.
But they did not remember. They forgot their Creator and sought pleasure in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
We have a similar choice today. Christ calls us to remember him, to remember his death and resurrection. John 1:3 says, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
God made us and he purchased us with Christ’s blood. If we continually remember these things then we will remember to live under his rule.
Solomon also points out that the evil days are coming and all of us in our sin will reject God. But if we form the habit of remembering God, then we will have a greater defense against the temptation to reject Christ.
REMEMBERING CHRIST HELPS YOU GLORIFY GOD
“For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?” (Ps. 6:5).
David urges God to protect him from death in Psalm 6, and the way he does this is to say that God could not be praised if he were to die. David is not making a statement about death as much as he is making a statement about God’s glory.
The parallel structure in this verse equates praise with remembrance—in Sheol there is no praise, in death there is no remembrance.
When we take the time to remember God and to remember Christ’s work on the cross, we bring him praise and glory!
Remembering is such a crucial way to bring God glory while we are on earth. In paradise, there will be no doubt. In heaven there will be no forgetting who God is or how Jesus reigns. But here on earth, Christians are prone to forget just how amazing God is.
Let us then strive to frequently recall what Jesus did on the cross so that we may bring God glory and strengthen one another’s faith.
REMEMBERING CHRIST HELPS YOU EXPERIENCE GOD’S PEACE
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isa. 43:25; see also Gen. 9:16; Ps. 103:10-14; Ps. 105:8: Jer. 31:24)
What the Bible says about memory is moving to say the least. Jesus called us to remember him.
But when it comes to what God remembers and doesn’t remember, his “not remembering” brings everlasting peace.
The verse above shows us that God promises to “blot out [our] transgressions for [his] own sake.” He says he “will not remember [our] sins.”
At first glance, this reads somewhat flippantly. At first, it seems God is saying, “You have done a lot of evil but don’t worry about it, I’ll just let it go.”
But this is not the case!
In order to “not remember” our sins, God needed to cover them with something that would eclipse the extraordinary evil we committed against him.
Just as God needed to see the blood on the door posts of the Israelites to pass over their houses, so God needs to see us covered in the blood of Jesus to pass over our sins.
God promised from the beginning that he would establish and keep a covenant to protect us from his wrath, and that the full extent of his wrath would be poured out on his son, Jesus Christ. This happened. God was true to his word. Due to Christ’s death on the cross our transgressions have been blotted out.
There is peace in knowing your salvation is secure, and there is peace in knowing you can leave your sins behind you. God does not remember them—why should you?
Seek the peace that comes with remembering what Christ did for you.
REMEMBER CHRIST, NOT YOUR EXPERIENCES
Christ is to be the sole object of our remembrance. The blessings that come from remembrance come only if you look to Christ. You may mature away from a childhood experience, you may come to doubt the authenticity of your first prayer, you may come to distrust a previous spiritual experience, but Christ will always remain the same.
Jesus Christ is the only point of stability.
Look to him. Remember him. And be at peace.