By Andrew E. Courtis
To forget is a tendency of being human. The condition of forgetfulness can be frustrating and even embarrassing at times. We forget items on a shopping list, stickers or tags on new clothes, to check the mail, to turn the light off, special occasions, appointments and even people’s names. There are many things that we do so as to help us remember. We write post it notes, we tie a piece of string to our finger, or we write on our hands. Though these devices can be helpful, they do not eradicate the human tendency of forgetfulness.
There is a forgetfulness that is even worse. It is forgetting what God has said in His Word and what He has done in our lives. Forgetfulness of Biblical truth is one of the reasons why we can be troubled by bad teaching or by temptation. There is an obsession in our culture for something innovative, or new. Now innovative and new are not always bad, but this obsession can be bad when it leads people away from old timeless truth in place of something new. Throughout Scripture God’s people are called to remember and not forget. Numerous examples are given of the terrible outcome for those that forgot God’s Word (cf. Deut. 4:9 and Jeremiah 6:16). In the Old Testament, the annual practice of Passover was in a addition to being a picture of Christ’s future work, was designed to be a reminder of God’s great deliverance of His people from Egypt. The regular practice of communion is also given for the purpose of being reminded of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Being reminded of God’s Word is of utmost importance for God’s people. For this reason, in the four verses we will be considering in this message, Peter reminds his readers of the importance of being reminded. In-fact, this is the whole reason why Peter is writing this letter. In this message we will consider three principles that will help us understand the importance of such reminders.
1. THE RECIPENTS OF THE REMINDER (1:12)
This passage begins with Peter’s intention to remind his readers of the basic truths of salvation. He writes, “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have” (1:12). The qualities that Peter is referring to are the things he has written of in the first 11 verses of this chapter. They include the fact that we are saved by the righteousness of Jesus Christ (1:1), that Christ is the source for our spiritual growth (1:3-4), we are responsible to supplement our faith with seven qualities (1:5-7), and that there is satisfaction now and in eternity for those who live according to such things. It is interesting to note that Peter doesn’t address this reminder to only those who are young in the faith. It is addressed to all of his readers (cf. 1 Peter 1: ; 2:). From this verse we learn that there is a difference between knowing gospel truth and living according to gospel truth. Peter’s readers knew the gospel truth (“though you know them”). And even though they were “established in the truth” it was still necessary that they be reminded of it.
The importance of being reminded of the basic truths of salvation is relevant for all Christians. It doesn’t matter if you are a young believer or a mature believer; all Christians need to be reminded regularly. So verse 12 is a loud and serious reminder for all of us to be about the practice and discipline of being reminded of basic gospel truth. This now brings me to my second point, and that is the reason for the reminder.
2. THE REASON FOR THE REMINDER (1:13-14)
Why does Peter make such an effort to constantly remind his readers of the basic truths of the gospel? The reason is because Peter knows that he doesn’t have much more time in this life. He writes, “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me” (1:13-14). Interestingly, the word for “body” in these two verses is “tabernacle”. Here Peter views his physical body as a temporary dwelling by calling it a tent. When you go camping and you set up your tent, there are certain necessities that you put in your tent. At the end of the trip you start packing it up and you set your sight on your home. In your home are a comfortable bed, a clean shower and other items. The tent is only a temporary dwelling. We need to remember the same when it comes to life in this body. This world is not our home, as we are passing through. This body that we have right now is a tent. One day, it will be pulled down. Our Lord Jesus Christ is preparing a place for us in His eternal kingdom, and there we will dwell for all eternity.
There are also some lessons in this for us. The topic of death is something that doesn’t get discussed very often in our society. We do acknowledge it from time to time, but generally it is avoided. As Christians, we need to think Biblically on the topic of death. Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Losing a loved one is a horrible tragedy. The excruciating experience of loss will result in grief, which is that normal process in which an individual displays sorrow and anguish as a result of loss. It is a painful experience that tears someone apart emotionally. Death is something that touches us all, be it through the loss of a loved one or one day our own death. But because death is a reality, life here on earth is temporary. Our life is evanescent. It is like a mist that is there in the morning and then quickly fades away (cf. James 4:14).
3. THE REPETITION OF THE REMINDER (1:15)
Because it is necessary that all God’s people be reminded of basic gospel truth, and because life is short, Peter shares his urgent and committed desire, “And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things” (1:15). In this final verse of our passage, we are reminded of the importance of the repetition of reminders. Peter’s goal is to clearly and consistently brings the truths of God’s Word before his readers so that they will be able to recall them at any time. Peter committed himself to “make every effort” to remind his readers of these things. We are called to “make every effort to supplement our faith” (1:5) with these things. How is this done? We need to make a committed and consistent effort to read these truths in God’s Word regularly. We need to pray these truths. We need to sing these truths. We need to hear these truths preached. We need to memorize these truths. And we need to live these truths. By immersing of ourselves in truth helps us to be able to recall these things at any time. It is so easy for us to be distracted by the things of this world that do not ultimately matter. We can fill our lives with entertainment and knowledge, but when we die, what do we have to show for it?
In this passage we have learnt that all Christians, old and young, need to be reminded. The reason why this reminder is so important is because time is short. Our tent will be folded away soon. So we must consistently be reminded of their solid truths of God’s Word, so that we can recall them at any time and grow in grace. By God’s grace let it be our resolve, “I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life” (Psalm 119:93).
- Why do we forget things? Why is it important to be reminded of basic biblical truths?
- Who should be reminded of basic Bible truths? See 1:12
- Why does Peter make such an effort to reminder his readers of biblical truth? See 1:13-14
- How can we be diligent so as to be regularly reminded of Biblical truth?