If you have kids, how often do you remind them to clean their room, pick up their laundry, brush their hair, take a shower, brush their teeth, clean up their dishes, and go to bed? In our house, all of those things are a daily occurrence, and some days, it can wear you out to constantly remind our kids to remember what they are supposed to do. The same can be said in your work environment where you are regularly reminding co-workers to follow company standards and to remember company rules.
I’m pretty sure the standard didn’t change from the day before, and yet, they need constant and daily reminders.
One day in the midst of these multiple exhortations to do what they should already know to do, I wondered if I was seeing a real life picture of my own failure to remember the promises of God that I have read and have been taught from the Bible. In fact, does the Bible anticipate this forgetting on the part of the believer in their daily life. What does God’s word tell us to remember or what are we to remind ourselves and others about?
In every instance that the Bible says to remember, this would mean that the audience had already heard this promise or command at least once if not more even when the speaker is asking God to remember His covenant with His people as we see throughout the Old Testament. Or when the Bible says to remind, it is causing the hearer to refer back to something they have already heard once before but should remember. To no one’s surprise, there are many things to remind and remember, which would indicate, we do forget a lot if not daily what we should already know and live out.
Ephesians 2:12-13 Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
2 Timothy 2:8-10 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
The apostle Paul tells the Ephesians (and us) to remember what they were before Christ and to remember what they are now in Christ Jesus. We were separated from Christ, without hope, and without God, but now in Christ Jesus we are near God, with God, and in a relationship with God by the blood of Jesus. Our tendency is to forget these things, so we need to daily remember.
Why should we remember? Because our remembering brings us comfort in the midst of suffering. This is why Paul tells Timothy to remember the person of Jesus Christ. He is the risen Savior, alive, at God’s right hand, which is why they word of God is not bound. Therefore, Paul, Timothy, and us can endure everything for the sake of the elect, who are those who have already received Christ and those who will one day receive Christ. But how do we endure? We must remember Jesus Christ because we forget him so quickly in the midst of suffering or any kind of trial.
While we are to remember these things, the Bible also speaks to promises and commands that we are reminded to believe and do.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.
2 Peter 1:12-13 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body,to stir you up by way of reminder.
The apostle is reminding believers (Christians) in Corinth of the gospel. If they have already received Christ, why do they need to be reminded of the gospel? Because Paul says that the same gospel that saved them is also sanctifying them (by which you are being saved). Paul is calling to mind the gospel as the power for salvation and for their sanctification.
The apostle Peter is reminding believers to practice the qualities of the gospel, which he notes in verses five through seven as faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. How does Peter remind believers to practice these qualities? They were to remember they were “established in the truth.” Peter was calling them to remember the truth of the gospel in which they were saved is also needed to produce those gospel qualities.
Maybe the best example of this remember and remind is found in Titus 3:1-8.
1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
The apostle Paul tells Titus to remind believers to follow these commands. But how are they to follow them? By remembering what they once were (foolish, disobedient) and what they are now (by the goodness and kindness of God, saved) they can live out righteousness in their lives. Through the gospel, they have received the Holy Spirit, and they needed to be reminded of all those truths of the gospel in order to live out the commands of the gospel.
So when you find yourself annoyed or frustrated at the number of reminders you need to give your kids or your co-workers, let that be a wake up to remember the gospel that once you and I were separated from Christ, but now we are in Christ Jesus through his redeeming blood. And by that salvation, we now have the Holy Spirit to live righteous lives that glorify God in our homes and workplaces.