“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.” 2 Tim 2:8,9
The text before us today issues a very clear imperative to the people of God; we are to “remember Jesus Christ.” So what does it mean to remember Him?
First, we are to remember who the Lord Jesus Christ is. To remember Christ is not simply to worship some figure named Jesus but to worship the Jesus who actually manifested himself in history and revealed himself to the Apostles. The Jesus we are to remember is “risen from the dead, [a] descendant of David, according to my Gospel.” We are to remember the Apostolic, the historical Jesus.
To remember Jesus in this way requires not only that we embrace the Christ revealed to us by the Apostles, but that we repudiate every notion of Christ which does not harmonize with the real Jesus. We do not have the freedom to worship a Jesus of our own imagining. So we are called upon to repudiate the Jesus of liberalism—who is no more than a jaded image of the liberals themselves rather than the eternal Son of God. We are to castigate the Jesus of Arianism (the Jehovah’s Witnesses), who is the first creation of God, not God Himself clothed in human flesh. We are to reject the Jesus of Mormonism—who is the illegitimate offspring of a philandering father, not the High and Holy One of Scriptural revelation.
It is to remember Jesus Christ, declaring our trust in the historical Jesus and renouncing heretical ones, that we corporately confess the creeds every Lord’s Day. The Nicene Creed, which we are currently reciting, was composed to exalt the Christ of the Apostles and to repudiate other notions. With it we declare our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ of history—manifested for us, crucified for us, risen for us, ascended for us, coming in judgment for us. Every Lord’s Day we have the immense privilege to remember Jesus Christ as we recite these words.
So, how are we remembering Him? Are we reciting the creed with joy, gladness and confidence or are we mumbling the words, caring little for the truths encapsulated in them? Are we giving our attention to understanding the words written or are we content to think about the weather outside in the midst of our recital? For to remember Jesus Christ is not simply to know who He is but to worship, serve, love, and adore Him. It is to follow Him no matter the cost.
Paul’s exhortation, therefore, reminds us that we often fail to remember our Lord Jesus Christ as we ought. So let us kneel and let us confess our sin to the Lord.