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    August 13, 2013


    American philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) famously stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (The Life of Reason, 5 vols. [New York: Scribner’s, 1905-06] 1:284). Knowing the past is an exercise in remembering as opposed to forgetting. The reason is that remembrance is fundamental to life itself. History is remembering the events, faith, and individuals, which are recognized as foundational to our lives.

    Throughout the Old Testament, one can easily discern the priority given to remembering. For instance, the Jewish people observed Passover to remember their enslavement in Egypt, and how God delivered and redeemed them from their bondage by the Passover sacrifice (Lev 23; Deut 16). Of course, believers today also have a Passover lamb—the Lord Jesus Christ—and his sacrifice does not repeating (1 Cor 12:23-26; Heb 7:1-28). In the Old Testament, we can see that the vitality of the nation of Israel was not only related to their continual trust in God, but also remembering his actions on their behalf. Even the church has special days for remembering, such as the birth of the Messiah at Christmas and his resurrection at Easter.

    Americans also celebrate many memorable days on our calendar. Several months ago, we celebrated Memorial Day with thankfulness for our fallen servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The most significant celebration of American independence and individual freedom was remembered last month on the Fourth of July. In a few months, Americans will celebrate Veterans Day, which is dedicated to the honor of all veterans, both living and deceased. The memory of our nation is also enshrined in concrete and granite, such as Mount Rushmore and the Washington Monument. Even our coins and currency are continual memories of America’s illustrious history. If we forget our history, we will be reshaped into whatever forms that new leaders desire. The consequence, however, will not be a “new” people, but a lost and dying population. For this very reason, First Corinthians 10 exhorts believers to remember the past.

    Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall (1 Cor 10:11-12).

    We need to apply knowledge of the past to our current experience. There is a danger in knowing historical events in a merely academic manner, which means knowing something intellectually but not applying that knowledge in a manner that impacts our life. There is an ongoing relationship between what we confess to believe and what we actually do. If our confession and actions contradict one another entirely, then we are either lying hypocrites or quite confused (or even both). We must guard against viewing the Old Testament (or the New Testament) as an interesting record of merely historical events; we need to also examine how our lives are impacted based upon what those truly historical events teach us.

    Only living in faith and obedience to God’s Word will result in enduring satisfaction. The “beloved” of God are exhorted “to remember the words” of the inspired Word of God to live in a manner wherein we continue to receive the blessings of God’s love as we await the Lord’s return. When God’s people are most satisfied in Him, then He is truly glorified the most in us.

    By God's grace and for his Glory,

    Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
    Georgia State Minister, Capitol Commission

    P.S. Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.