Robert K. Massie is an American historian who became well known in his field after the publication of his biography entitled Nicholas and Alexandra, a work detailing the tragic life of Russia’s last Tsar and his family.
Massie tells the story of how he visited Russia in the 1960s. He recounts on one occasion a conversation he had with some Russian women.
He was in the Kremlin, looking at one of those famously expensive Faberge eggs. In the egg were miniature pictures of four little girls and one little boy. The women asked him if he knew who they were. He explained that they were the children of Tsar Nicholas. They looked bemused. He went on to tell how they, along with their father and mother, had been murdered in 1917 and that Lenin had sanctioned the killings. The ladies were completely bewildered. They had never heard of the murders. The memory of the last royal family of Russia had been almost forgotten by ordinary people in less than fifty years after their demise.
It doesn’t take a sophisticated propaganda machine to bring about a loss of memory. The apostle Peter writing towards the end of his life was concerned that the Christians within his circle of influence would soon forget the key elements of their faith:
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. 2 Peter 1.12-15
If people who had such close contact with an apostle who had been trained by Jesus Himself were vulnerable to spiritual forgetfulness, I think it’s fair to say that we might forget to remember as well.
Just what was it that Peter was concerned they would forget? The first eleven verses reveal what he wanted them to remember. He wanted them to remember that their salvation was the work of divine persons, the Father and the Son (v.1).
Furthermore they had been given divine power to live a godly life (v.3). That power became active as they believed precious promises (v.4). And because of God’s power with them, they were able to plan and attain their own spiritual growth (v.5).
Sometimes we forget that God is one hundred percent behind not only our conversion but our ongoing growth and development in the Christian life. He gives us power and promises. That is real heavenly backing and back up whatever way you look at it. We have everything we need. Yet so often believers act as if it depends on their own best efforts. They forget that their salvation was actually God’s idea. They forget that God is committed to their growth and has given them everything they need to attain it.
Remember that. Believe that. Remember to remember.