THE PAST, YOUR PAST, AND THE PRESENT - P2
“Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off” (Pro. 24:14).
One of the many gospels of the world tells us our only life is the present. Its disciples encourage us to “go with the flow and live in the moment...enjoy your chaos.” They tell us to not “let the our present be robbed by the past.” This is the world’s wisdom, but it is not God’s wisdom. God wants us to be awake to the past, present, and future.
THE PAST. We are not to be ignorant of what has come before. In fact, God wants us to remember the Law and the Prophets and recall His Word to them, for it is also to us: “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
Furthermore, God wants us to remember what He has done—to see by His past actions His character and nature: Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isa. 46:8-10). “No one is good except God alone” (Lk. 18:19b). “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (Js. 1:17).
God also wants us to remember and understand what man has done, to better understand man’s character and nature: “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Is. 64:6). Indeed since the beginning of the world till now, “there is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one” (Rom. 3:10b-12). It is impossible to understand Salvation without reference to the past that has made Salvation necessary.
YOUR PAST. Finally, God wants us to remember and face what has happened in our personal lives, so that we can repent of past sins as well as make peace with those who have wronged us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9), and “if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:14-15).
If we do not face our past and repent of our past sins, we cannot enter the Salvation of God, but for those that truly repent, our past has no power over us for we have “a repentance without regret” (2 Cor. 7:10a) in Christ.
YOUR PRESENT. We are not to ignore the present—our present actions influence our futures: “Depart from evil and do good, So you will abide forever” (Ps. 37:27). God wants us to be present to the needs and difficulties of others: “Learn to do good; Seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isa. 1:17). And the fruit of the Holy Spirit is to be always overflowing from our lives to nourish, protect, and sustain those around us. We are to be eagerly living a sacrificial life to Christ in faith lived out in our actions towards our family and neighbors. “Do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16). So, “let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Romans 6:9). Even so, Amen.