I’ve Come Too Far To Look Back (Part II)
Philippians 3:13-14 – “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (in effect, repeats what he said in the previous Verse): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind (refers to things the Apostle had depended upon to find favor with God, and the failure that type of effort brought about [3:5-6]), reaching forth unto those things which are before (all our attention must be on that which is ahead, and not on what is past; ‘those things’ consists of all the victories of the Cross),
“I press toward the mark (this represents a moral and Spiritual target) for the prize of the high calling of God (Christlikeness) in Christ Jesus (proclaims the manner and means in which all of this is done, which is the Cross [I Cor. 1:17-18; 2:2]).”
There is an old saying, “hindsight is always 20/20,” meaning that if you knew then what you know now, certain things could have been avoided in the past. We must realize that Satan is a master at bringing up something that is under the Blood of Christ, if that person has asked for forgiveness, and constantly beating us up with past mistakes, raining condemnation down upon us. He constantly seeks to drag up the past of the Believer, and tries to steer the Believer to quit based upon his past. And when the Devil tries to bring up the past, you must remind yourself of this one thing, “the Christian has no past, and the Devil has no future.” What does this all mean? Simply put, if the Believer has brought their sin unto the Lord, and has asked His forgiveness, then God not only forgives, but He tosses that failure into the Sea of His Forgetfulness, which means He does not remember the past, He only remembers the Blood of Christ that has washed and made clean. As we have stated before, you must realize that God forgives us on the basis of the Finished Work of Christ, and our Faith in that Finished Work. He cannot forgive on any other basis, only the Shed Blood of the Lamb.
HOW DARE WE DRAG UP THE PAST OF A FELLOW CHRISTIAN!
However, the Devil is not the only one that likes to drag up the past of the Believer, but unfortunately, most Christians love to drag up the past of the Believer as well, and take great pride in doing so. How evil it is for someone to drag something up that the Lord has forgiven! If the Christian who has failed has asked the Lord to forgive them, then we as Christians must be the first ones to welcome that Believer back into the fold. Jesus brought this up in Matthew 6:14-15, when He said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you.” Now those are strong words indeed. We all need the Heavenly Father to forgive us, but if we do not forgive others, then how can He forgive us? The Bible is full of people who had failed the Lord, and some were catastrophic failures, but if that person asked the Lord to forgive them, then they are forgiven.
I CAN DO WHAT I WANT!
Now, some would say, “Then this means that I can do whatever I want to do, and all I have to do is ask the Lord to forgive me.” No! We must not be so foolish. Paul said in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, who are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” In other words, we do not sin because Grace covers it. If we are a Child of God, our desire is to please God, and not fail Him. We must ever strive to please the Lord in everything that we do, and we must strive to not fail Him in any capacity. But, as humans, we sometimes fail, and we fail big time! And as fellow Believers, we must not continually drag up that past of an individual, if that person has asked the Lord to forgive them, then we must forgive them as well.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
Too many Christians live in the realm of “what might have been.” But God never works from that perspective, He only works with “what is.” Sin has an awful attachment to it, and we must suffer the consequences of our actions, but God still works from “what is.” We are all burnt stones, for we “all have sinned” and are constantly “coming short of the Glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). But this is the Story of the Gospel. How that man failed God, and made a royal mess of things, and how that God became flesh, to do for us what we could not do for ourselves, redeem us. God worked from “what is,” and not “what might have been.” Thanks to God for that. If God only worked from “what might have been,” then He could not work with any of us.
Paul would now tell us that even though he has not apprehended yet, there is one thing that he will do, and that is “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” The Believer cannot reach forward if he is constantly looking back. Irrespective of what has happened in the past, “those things” are still ahead, and are still attainable. There are always going to be things that try to keep us down, which we are ashamed of, but we must not allow those things to stop us from reaching forward. Man does not have the final say, God does. And if God is not through with you yet, then who is man to say that He is? God has the final say, and if He will not give up on us, then we must not give up on Him. In other words, God can take our wrong, put it into His Right, and make everything all right! Praise God! If you will look to Him, believe in Him, trust Him, and pick yourself up, then He will help you up.
We must never listen to the doubters and unbelievers, and even many Believers, when they tell us that we have too many bad things, and the Lord can never forgive us. Do not listen to them at all, for it’s not what man says, it’s what God says! It’s not what others do, it’s what God does! And most importantly, it’s not what man thinks, it’s what God knows! No matter what has happened in your life, you must continually look to the Cross of Christ, for it is the Cross of Christ that brings forth our Redemption, forgiveness of sin, and the Restoration of our soul. You must realize that you are here, not because of what some person has to say, but you are here because of what God knows. As someone has well said, “What do we do when we fail the Lord? We fall back on the Cross!” Amen! We fall back on the Cross, for it is through the Cross of Christ, and our Faith in that Finished Work, which allows the Holy Spirit the ability to Work on our behalf, that guarantees our Victory! Keep reaching forward, and when the Devil comes to you and tries to bring up your past, you tell him that “You’ve come too far to look back now!”