WHAT mATTERS? Forgetting the Past and Pressing On
We’ve been looking at three examples of great men of faith in the Old Testament, Abraham, father of our faith, Job, patient truster of faith, and David, spontaneous doer of faith. Though renowned in the Scriptures for their faith, they were also openly exposed for their great failures of the flesh. God didn’t hide their adultery, deceit, selfishness, pride, or commission of murder. God exposed all that, as reminders that we are no different than them in our hearts, if not in actual behavior. After reading of these failures, we are then shown how God restored them to fellowship with Him in three sequential steps. 1) Acknowledgment of their sinful condition. 2) Repentance, manifested as a broken and contrite heart. 3) Faith in the provision of God. These same steps are the ones allowing us to walk in fellowship with God today.
Though of the New Testament, the last man of faith I want us to look at is Paul. Prior to his being saved on the road to Damascus, he delivered many of the church unto death for being Christians, persecuting multitudes for their faith in Jesus. Uniquely receiving direct revelation from the risen Lord Jesus, Paul took those same three steps above that brought him to initial salvation, confessing Jesus as his LORD. Romans 10:9 Over the next few years, he was taught of the substance and meaning of the shadows and types given in the Old Testament of the Gospel as fully revealed in Jesus Christ. However, he was plagued by his horrendous actions as an unbeliever. Under heavy conviction, Paul’s sins of the flesh caused him to identify himself as chief sinner of all men, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15 But Paul didn’t remain under self-loathing guilt. Remembering how he was saved, he said this, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (and) “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)” Hebrews 10:19-23 He was trusting that the Gospel was sufficient to save, that the confession of 1 John 1:9 was restorative for fellowship, and that Jesus’ blood was continually effective to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We need to practice the same.
Do you sometimes lay awake at night while the enemy of our soul takes us to places of deep regret, remorse, and guilt for our own dark past? If so, it is not a place where Jesus wants us to go. Like Paul, we are to focus on what brought us to salvation and the blood that was shed to secure payment for our sin and sins. Paul held on to, and believed those great and precious promises of God, that gave us eternal life. What matters is that we do likewise, “…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 “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” Ephesians 2:10