Things to Remember
Things to Forget

OUR HEAVENLY FATHER through his Word, addressing those called out from the world to be associated with Jesus in the heavenly phase of his kingdom, tells them that in walking this narrow way there are some things important to remember, while others are equally important to forget, and to put away from us.

One of the primary requirements of those called to be part of the glorified church to be associated with our Lord in his kingdom, is humility. Jesus said to some who had begun to follow him, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:29) And emphasizing in another way this same thought, Paul says, “Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, … that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”—Eph. 2:11-13

It is always well to remember our lowly origin, that by nature we were part of the Gentile world which up to the First Advent of our Lord had never enjoyed divine favor. God had said to Israel, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” (Amos 3:2) This indicates that those called out from among the Gentiles during the Gospel Age were not only previously separated from Christ, but were even alienated from the commonwealth of Israel—not being part of the nation to which God showed favor for a time.

Our only door to acceptance by God is through the atoning work of our Redeemer and Lord: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is also the single way which gives us access into “this grace” wherein we stand as children of God, and in the call which enables us to rejoice in the hope of sharing the glory of God.—Rom. 5:1,2

God Is Faithful

Another important feature to remember is the faithfulness of God toward all those whom he has “called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) Hence we do well to remember all the way the Lord our God hath led us. Further we should note, as even the great Apostle Paul observed for his own encouragement, the faithfulness of others of the called ones who are walking the same narrow way. For example, we see the inspiration which even this loyal and faithful servant received from the example of the brethren at Thessalonica: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, … how that our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; … so that ye became an ensample to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.”—I Thess. 1:2-7, Revised Version

Our Manifold Favors

Addressing the church in Sardis, the Lord exhorted them to remember how much had been done for them: how many manifestations of his love they had received, that it might create in their hearts an earnest desire to be faithful. He said, “Remember therefore how thou hast received and didst hear,” understand. (Rev. 3:3, R.V.) In other words, they were exhorted that they “receive not the grace of God in vain.”—II Cor. 6:1

During our Lord’s ministry, he saw it to be the Father’s will for him to perform a typical cleansing of the Temple, overturning the tables of the money-changers and driving out those who were using the Temple as a place of merchandise by selling doves and other animals for sacrifice. We read that after Jesus had performed this most unpleasant duty, “his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”—John 2:13-17

Indeed, our Lord’s entire ministry was an example of his zeal and faithfulness, and this was especially evident in the work of finding, assisting, and encouraging those called to be part of God’s true temple of living stones—whatever the sacrifice, whatever the misunderstanding of his motives. May his example be our inspiration along similar lines!

The Sufferings of Christ

In Luke 22:19 Jesus reminds us of his great sacrifice on our behalf, and of our covenant to suffer with him and to drink of his cup of experiences. In order to make this great truth more impressive and lasting, he arranged that his followers should keep an outward memorial of that occasion annually. In connection with this great truth of the divine plan which shows how the Lord’s consecrated followers are privileged to share in the sufferings of Christ, Paul says, “I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, how that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, This is my body which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. In like manner also the cup … saying, This cup is the New Covenant in my blood; this do, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”—I Cor. 11:24,25

Thank God that the deep significance of the great truths depicted in the Memorial ceremony are still preserved to us! Indeed, they are better understood today than at any period since apostolic times. This is a corroboration of our Master’s assurance, “The Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.”—John 14:26, R.V.

Brings to Remembrance

In our day, too, we have the written Word in a far more convenient form than it was the privilege of God’s people in earlier centuries to enjoy, particularly in the days before the invention of printing. Yet, with all our modern conveniences in this respect, we are such leaky vessels as to be quite unable to remember all we have so frequently read or studied with those of like precious faith. And so in our day too, we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to bring to our remembrance the various portions of the Word of God. This is especially true concerning following the teachings of our Master and of taking each important step in our endeavors to follow him. By looking for the leadings of his Spirit, we may enjoy the fulfillment of the prophetic Word written long ago for our benefit: “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isa. 30:20,21, R.V.) And it is comforting to have the assurance that this blessing of the Spirit’s guidance is always given when most needed.

To Grow in Grace

After speaking about some of the important graces of the Spirit which must be added to our faith, the apostle wrote, “Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the present truth.” (II Pet. 1:12, R.V.) And in verse 15, Peter makes a very interesting and important statement, saying: “Moreover I will endeavor that you may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” It seems obvious that the only way for Peter to do this would be for him to make a written record of his message. And what could be more encouraging to Christians than to have an account of those all-important requirements, as well as the warnings such as Peter has given concerning the dangers and difficulties of the narrow way—a record which is readily available and always at hand for us to read and to study.

Past Experiences

It is good from time to time to remember some of our past experiences, and especially those we had when we first turned to the Lord, when we were, perhaps, making special efforts to serve him and the interests of his truth in the fervor of our ‘first love’, and when we possibly even endured suffering for so doing. These experiences brought with them quite positive evidences of the Lord’s presence and blessing in our lives. Hence we read: “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; and partly, whilst ye … became companions of them that were so used.”—Heb. 10:32,33

These verses seem to imply that those addressed had a great deal of confidence in the Lord’s goodness and love in their earlier days in the narrow way. In those days they felt they were being especially helped and encouraged to prove faithful through the Lord’s leadings and the Holy Spirit. And so now, if special trials do come, let us not be discouraged by thinking the Lord is not favoring us as much as formerly, for “we walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Cor. 5:7) “Ye did run well; who did hinder you” from running as in former days? (Gal. 5:7) “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”—Heb. 10:35

“Forgetting Thine Own People”

In speaking to the church—those called out from the family of Adam to be the bride of Christ, the Lamb’s wife—the Lord says through the psalmist, “Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house.” (Ps. 45:10; Rev. 21:9) Just as a proper bride is willing to leave her father’s and mother’s house and her family to go away to a new home and to be joined to another, so the Master said of those called to the high calling, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.”—Matt. 10:37

The Things Behind

Paul states that he forgot the things that were behind, and that we should do likewise; the things on the human plane which one might be inclined to value—earthly interests, hopes, and ambitions. For to gain the pearl of great price, all the little pearls in our possession must be given up. We must go forward bending every effort to reach the things which are before us—the glory of the heavenly inheritance and the great privilege of being part of the seed of Abraham which will dispense blessings to all the families of the earth.—Phil. 3:13-17; Gal. 3:29

When speaking of the narrow way in which the Lord’s followers are called to walk, Paul said that it is a path which can bring much tribulation, and which is a difficult one to traverse. “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) This is because our enemies, the world, the flesh, and the Devil, are continually assailing us. And because of their constant assaults there can be a danger of losing sight of our goal as we undergo some of the difficulties of this narrow way.

The Scriptures exhort us: “Consider him attentively who has endured such opposition from sinners, so that you may not be wearied, being discouraged in your souls. You did not yet resist to blood, contending against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with sons? ‘My son, slight not the discipline of the Lord, neither be discouraged when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives.’”—Heb. 12:3-6, Diaglott

Rather than be discouraged by the Lord’s disciplines, may our heart sentiments be, “I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.”—Ps. 119:93

Dawn Bible Students Association
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