Peter wrote his second Epistle specifically to “stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.” In the Word of God we are constantly told to remember what we are by nature and what the Lord God has done for us by his almighty grace in Christ. The reason for this is both simple and clear. Everything in the kingdom of God is motivated by grace and redemption. Therefore the Lord our God commands, — “And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee” (Deut. 15:15).
In his autobiography William Jay tells of a visit he had with John Newton in his study at Olney. He noticed that Mr. Newton had this text of Scripture written in large letters, hanging on the wall over his desk. As that faithful servant of the Lord prepared his sermons these words were constantly before him: — “Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee.” Mr. Newton lived and acted under the influence of his memory of God’s grace to him. It is reflected in his preaching, in his hymns, and in the particular conversation he had with William Jay that day.
“I am glad to see you,” Newton said to his guest. “I have a letter here from Bath. Perhaps you can assist me in answering it. Do you know anything of ___________,” calling the man’s name. Mr. Jay told Newton that he knew the man well. He once faithfully attended the church Jay pastored, and heard the preaching of the gospel with delight. But he had become a man of wicked reputation, a leader of every vice. Newton responded, “Perhaps a change has come over him. He writes a very penitent letter.” Then William Jay said, “I can only say that if ever he should be converted, I should despair of no one.” “And I,” said Newton, “have never despaired of anyone since I was converted myself.”
Newton remembered that he had been a bondman in the land of Egypt and the Lord redeemed him out of his bondage. It appears that his friend, William Jay, had (at least for the moment) forgotten! Newton’s remembrance of his own experience of grace made him both hopeful for and tender toward another sinner in bondage.
May God the Holy Spirit constantly bring to our memories his marvelous, amazing grace in delivering our souls from bondage and melt our hearts before the throne of grace. Nothing will stir up our hearts and minds so effectually, nothing can motivate and govern our lives better than the remembrance of redemption and grace in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. — “Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee.” He has brought you into “the glorious liberty of the sons of God” by his omnipotent grace.