I started my first official Scripture memory program this week. I’ve had a good Scripture-reading program for years. And I’ve had a good Scripture-study routine even longer than that. And in the process of the latter two, God has shown me much grace by allowing me to learn, understand, and even memorize Scripture along the way. But I’ve never used a formal and systematic approach to memorizing Scripture until this week.
Of course, I say this to my shame. I’ve been teaching the importance of it for years. I’ve exalted the blessings of it throughout my ministry. However, I’ve always been quick to follow those exaltations with phrases such as, “But I’ve never been very good at memorizing things, so I concentrate on other spiritual disciplines.” Enough excuse-making. Time to get serious about getting Scripture into my heart, mind, and bloodstream.
I’m using the Topical Memory System by The Navigators. It is a wonderfully organized and well-thought-through system to help even the likes of me. I don’t want to get cocky, (seeing as this is only my second day of the program), but so far so good. I have memorized my first verse and now am meditating on it so that it really takes hold in my heart and mind.
My text is 2 Corinthians 5:17 which I will now type (from memory, I might add)…
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
One of the ways to really learn a text is to meditate on it…and even write out your thoughts on it. So here goes…
“Therefore.” What a word. Because of what has happened by God’s grace – the sending of his dear Son – his Person, Work, and Words – Paul declares “therefore.” Therefore, when we, by the work of the Holy Spirit, come to saving faith in Christ and repent of our sin, we become new creations in Christ.
What does it mean to become a new creation? It means that we become something we fundamentally were not before. We were dead – we become alive. We hated God – we come to love him. We lived for self – we begin to live for God and others. We were condemned to wrath and hell – we are redeemed and inherit all the riches of God. We were slaves to sin and death – we are freed to experience true life and joyful obedience. We were children of lies and darkness – we become children of truth and light.
When we are in Christ we are reconciled to God through his Son, Jesus Christ. We receive his merit – his perfect righteousness – and he becomes our sin and receives its due punishment. Because he redeemed us he now lives in us and through us. We are not who we once were. Our desires, perspectives, values, beliefs, attitudes, and actions have been reprioritized. This doesn’t happen all at once, but becoming a new creature in Christ puts us on the straight and narrow path to walk the road marked out for us by Christ himself.
Before we became a new creation, we didn’t even desire that road, much less see it… much less walk it. Now that we are in Christ, nothing can keep us from it, for it leads to eternal communion with our blessed Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria,