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Forgetting Those Things

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

In Philippians 3:13, the Apostle Paul famously said, “forgetting those things which are behind and

reaching forth unto those things which are before." In this verse, while he was instructing the Philippian believers to forget what was behind them, I suggest that

the apostle was also speaking from personal experience. Paul had things in his own life that he needed to forget.

What were "those things"? Before his conversion to Christ, Paul consented to the

death of Stephen (Acts 8:1). Before Paul met Jesus, the Bible says he was a blasphemer and a persecutor (1 Timothy 1:13). He was also injurious, which is the idea of being harmful even unto the act of murder. When Paul says, “forgetting those things which are behind,” he is saying to the Philippians and to us, “You don’t have to let the failures of your past—no matter how devious—define your future.” Forget those past failures and reach forward to a future full of opportunities to serve Christ. Never forget the lessons that your past has taught you, but definitely forget the crippling aspects which inhibit you from advancing in your service of the King and your pursuit of holiness.

Because of the gospel, Jesus has graciously liberated Christians from a life haunted by guilt and sin. Start today doing as the second half of Philippians 3:13 says, “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” Today, and every day to come, “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). You will be glad you did.


The above article was written by James C. Johnson. He is the Pastor of Northstone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email him at

Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.


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