By the grace of God we must determine to remember what once we were and never to return to it; to remember what God has made us and to conform our lives to it.

A good example of this is John Newton. He was an only child and lost his mother when he was seven years old. He went to sea at the tender age of eleven and later became involved, in the words of one of his biographers, ‘in the unspeakable atrocities of the African slave trade’. He plumbed the depths of human sin and his ship was in imminent period of foundering in a terrific storm, he cried to God for mercy, and he found it. He was truly converted, and he never forgot how God had had mercy upon him, a former blasphemer. He sought diligently to remember what he had previously been, and what God had done for him. In order to imprint it on his memory, he had written in bold letters and fastened across the wall over the mantelpiece of his study the words of Deuteronomy 15:15: ‘Thou shalt remember that thou was a bondman (a slave) in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee.’

If only we remembered these things, what we once were and what we now are, we would have an increasing desire within us to live accordingly, to be what we are, namely sons of God set free by Christ.

–John Stott, The Message of Galatians.

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