The Apostle Paul’s mindset in his sanctification was to always be “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” (Phil.3:13). When we think about the advantage to our spiritual progress in “forgetting the past,” likely the first things that come to mind are our sins and transgressions. And there is certainly great benefit to doing this.
While Paul, of course, never truly “forgot” that he was “formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor” of God’s people (1Tim.1:13), he certainly didn’t dwell on those past sins. They didn’t become an encumbrance in his current ministry. He fully and gratefully accepted the forgiveness of God, which “removes our transgressions” from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps.103:12).
But there is another great benefit to “forgetting” that becomes clear when we consider the context of Philippians 3. There we learn that it is also important to purposefully “forget” the “gains,” the “righteous” deeds, and all of our “blameless” acts (vv.4-8). As with his sinful past, Paul didn’t literally “forget” all the good things he had done, but they didn’t factor in his mind when it came to “striving forward” with all his might in the present. There was no “resting on his laurels” as they say. Which, by the way, is a timeless expression because it so aptly portrays the accomplished athlete who justifies his small efforts because in the past he had so many “laurel” wreaths awarded to him.
So whether it is our sins or our victories, let us all forget the outcome of yesterday and purpose to ambitiously live for Christ and energetically serve him today.