"Forgetting those things which are behind"

Probably many have wondered to what things Paul referred in Philippians when he wrote, "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." It is plain that it was not the good which he forgot, because all Christians must remember and be grateful for all their benefits, for all of God's loving-kindness.

Paul showed us clearly by his example that it is no use to waste time in vain regrets over the past. As soon as he had had his wonderful experience on the road to Damascus, he turned to God and seems not to have spent much time wishing he had not persecuted Jesus' followers as he had done; but after suitable preparation he began his splendid work for God, even though faced with many difficulties at the outset, in the form of the fear and suspicion of the Christians whom he had persecuted, and who naturally did not realize at first that he was actually working for the same great end as they were.

Peter was another wonderful example of one who was able to forget the things which were behind, and to press forward. Instead of yielding unduly to the sorrow he must have felt when he fell so low as to deny that he knew the Master, to whom a few hours before he had made such protestations of love and attachment, after some bitter tears of repentance he proceeded to obey his Master's commands. However much error may have tempted him to indulge in regrets, he did not listen to the tempter, but turned away from self and to God, and thus was able to begin the splendid work recorded of him in the Bible.

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The Reading Room
July 5, 1924

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