Healthy Remembering (2:11-13)
Have you ever been told you should forget your life (i.e., sins) before your conversion? After all, if God has forgiven you, what point is there in remembering your “old life”? Well, Paul gives very different advice to the believers at Ephesus. Paul not only asks the Ephesians to remember, he reminds them of who they were. In this passage we can glean several aspects of “healthy remembering.”
- Healthy remembering protects against pride. The Ephesians church was Gentile and there was competition with the Jewish church. Wherever there are “teams” there is pride. Paul calls on remembering as a tool to combat pride.
- Healthy remembering highlights God’s power (not our depravity). Being “saved” only makes sense if we were saved “from” something. Unless we remember our previous condition we will diminish the work of God. But notice (and seek to emulate) how Paul highlights what God is doing instead of denigrating what God had to work with.
- Healthy remembering allows us to be a whole person with one story. We spend too much time explaining away our sin by saying, “That really wasn’t me who did/said that.” Our testimony does not need to make it worse. When we fail to remember we begin to speak as if we lived (past tense) and live (present tense) two separate lives and our sin becomes “not me,” so repentance becomes a form of denial.
- Healthy remembering allows God’s church to be one body. Humility is essential to unity. “There but for the grace of God go/went I,” is the thread that binds the unity of the church. Unless we remember our whole story, we will grade, rank, and classify ourselves as Christians and divide what God has brought together.
Christ Himself Is Our Peace
Too often we think of peace as an emotion or a commodity; either something we feel or something we have. Yet Scripture is consistently calling us to know the Prince of Peace as a person. Ephesians 2:14 begins, “For [Christ] himself is our peace.”
Notice the guiding hand of Paul in Philippians 4 coaxing the church to grasp this as they wrestle with anxiety. In verse 7 he begins where they are (thinking of peace as a commodity), “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” But by verse 9 he is pointing them to a person, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me