Jump Start # 2433
2 Peter 1:9 “For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”
Having forgotten—those are the words we find in our verse today. Forgetting is an interesting concept. I doubt we’ve heard many lessons focused upon that topic. We all tend to remember certain things and we tend to forget certain things. The older one gets, the more one tends to struggle with remembering. We see faces that we recognize, but we can’t recall a name. For my wife and I, it’s takes both of us to tell a story anymore. She forgets parts that I remember and I forget parts that she remembers. But together, we can pretty much get the story told.
In our passage today, Peter concludes the list of what we call “Christian virtues” or “Christian graces.” These qualities are strung together and connected by the word “add” Add to your faith, moral excellence. Add to moral excellence, knowledge. And on and on it goes, covering eight qualities of the heart that God wants His children to manifest. These eight are not options, like at a fast food restaurant. “I’ll have some of number one, hold the second one, and just a little of number four.” No, it doesn’t work that way. We need all eight of these. In fact, these seem to be in a certain order, as if stair steps. One leads to the next.
Now, having gone through that, Peter comes to our verse. If you don’t have these qualities you are short-sighted and have forgotten your purification. The reason some would not have these qualities is because they never “added” them to their faith. These are choices. All Christians ought to have these, but all Christians do not. Why not? Some have never developed as they should have.
It is in this atmosphere that we find the idea of forgetting. Here, as Peter uses it, it’s not a good thing. There are some things we should never forget. Don’t forget where you came from.
When we say this, we are not talking about ancestry and our family history. For me, my family came from Indiana. Before that, North Carolina. Before that, Saxony, Germany. Back and back one can trace their family history. The Jews did that. The Bible does that in many places. Genesis five does that. The beginning of Chronicles does that. The opening of Matthew does that.
Don’t forget where you came from, means, don’t forget what life was like before Jesus came into your life. We need to remember:
First, don’t forget what it was like to be lost. To realize that we were once guilty and not right before God is something that helps keep us from sin. Do you remember those few moments, or for some, those days and weeks, before you were baptized into Christ? You knew. You knew you were a sinner. You knew that if you died, Heaven wasn’t going to be yours. You knew that you had to open your heart to God. You knew that Jesus was right. You may have been scared. You may have wondered what others thought. But that feeling, that place you were in, wasn’t a good place. You were not happy. You were not living life to the fullest. You realized that sin had crushed your relationship with God. Sin had ruined your life. You outlook was selfish. Your heart was dark. Your attitude was sour. Your words were often blasphemous. And, now, you realized that the world wasn’t the place to be. You had offended God and broken His commandments. You needed the mercy, grace and forgiveness of God. Until you received that, you were not in a good place. Remember?
Second, don’t forget what it was like to be saved? Do you remember the day you came to Christ and was baptized? What a glorious feeling that was. How right and how clean you felt. How you realized that you have done something right in your life. How great it was to sit in worship, to take the Lord’s Supper and to realize that God saw you as His child. Do you remember how great it was to leave worship, feeling like you truly worshipped the Lord and how wonderful that was. Remember?
Peter’s direction is that the reason some have not developed as they should have and the reason some have not added to their faith is that they forgot. And, something sad happens when we forget. We tend to take things for granted when we forget. We can take our marriage for granted. We can take our blessings for granted. We can take our health for granted. We can take our wonderful congregation for granted. And, so often is the case, it takes losing something precious for us to realize how wonderful things were. In the moment, we didn’t give it much thought. In the moment we weren’t very thankful. But now that a mate has passed away…now that we move away from a congregation…now that we don’t have the wonderful tools before us, it is then that we realize that we forgot to be thankful and appreciative.
Don’t forget. Remember where you came from. Remember, you are a reformed sinner. Remember, without Jesus, Heaven wouldn’t be possible. Now, there are some things that we need to forget. We will address those in our next Jump Start. And, so often, we remember what we ought to forget and we forget what we ought to remember. This mixed up thinking gets us mixed up.
Remember where you came from. You don’t want to go back there.