How exasperating it can be to forget something but there is something all Christians must forget. Paul explained that something in Philippians chapter 3 and what replaced it. We will examine this affirmation by Paul.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14. This is a powerfully practical instruction for all Christians.
“forgetting those things which are behind” What things did Paul want to leave behind – to forget? It was his religion, Judaism. Why? Because, like all religions, it made him self-righteous and unacceptable to God. Paul deeply desired the righteousness of Christ by faith. Philippians 3:9. Religion can only produce self-righteous people because they don’t bring people to the righteousness of God through Christ.
“reaching forth unto those things which are before” What was Paul reaching for? I think Paul first wanted to perform the ministry Jesus Christ gave him – the taking of the gospel to the Gentiles. Finally Paul looked forward to receiving his rewards of faith at the return of Christ. He especially anticipated being awarded his crown of righteousness at Christ’s appearing. II Timothy 4:8
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” The word press imagines a foot race or a hurried pace. The word high means above or high up. Paul was anxious to find himself ready to be called to heaven when the time came. Being ready – That ought to be the goal of every Christian.
Our Moral. It can be easy for Christians, especially new Christians, to hang onto errant religious beliefs prior to salvation. I have known many Christians who were confused and held back by lingering religious beliefs and practices. They must learn to FORGET those things and, like Paul, press on in the faith.
How do we forget those things which are best to forget? We exercise that urgent desire which Paul had: “That I may know him…” Philippians 3:10. How do we gain a better knowledge of Jesus Christ? We learn all we can about Him in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We honestly strive to obey Him and to serve Him. If our minds are on Jesus we can’t be remembering our religious past nor can it influence us.
IT IS BEST TO FORGET IT!