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“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified” (Galatians 3:1).

THERE IS NOTHING THE HUMAN MIND IS NOT CAPABLE OF FORGETTING, EVEN THE THINGS WE NEED TO REMEMBER THE MOST. Sometimes surprisingly quickly, we get to the point where even the most vivid experiences no longer have any impact. So when the Galatian Christians began to waver in their faith, Paul was amazed. “It was before your eyes,” he said, “that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” Paul himself had preached the cross to them, and they had understood what Jesus’ death meant. How could they now be drifting away from what they knew?

The problem the Galatians had is one most of us are familiar with: we forget things we need to remember. The truths that should keep us faithful to God slip away from our conscious awareness.

Yet the problem goes deeper than mere forgetfulness. All of us “know” that Jesus died for our sins — but in too many cases, the significance of what we know hasn’t really sunk in. The devil is perfectly content for us to “remember” Christ’s death as long as it never dawns on us what the implications of that event really are.

Even worse, however, we don’t see the personal significance of the cross. We may, on some level, grasp that Jesus’ crucifixion was a monumental event in human history, but rarely does that truth come home to us individually. Do I see that Jesus bled and died for MY sins? Do I understand the personal consequences of really believing that?

Clearly, we need to take two steps. First, what we know of the cross must be constantly deepened. If we don’t understand what happened at the cross more deeply today than we did last year, our love for God is probably not growing and we may be headed in the same direction as the Galatians. But second, what we know must constantly be refreshed. The Lord’s Supper each first day of the week is a public memorial that Christians share, but we need to ponder the cross in our private devotions as well. Every day of the week is not too often to remember what Jesus suffered and feel anew the full, shattering impact of His death. We must make up our minds that having seen Jesus crucified for our own sins, we will not forget what we saw.

O my Savior, make me see
How dearly thou has paid for me.
(Richard Crenshaw)

Gary Henry — +

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