4b ...I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could.
Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!
5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old.
I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin;
a real Hebrew if there ever was one!
I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.
6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church.
And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
7 I once thought these things were valuable,
but now I consider them worthless
because of what Christ has done.
8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have discarded everything else,
counting it all as garbage,
so that I could gain Christ
9 and become one with him.
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law;
rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.
For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.
I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,
11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
12 I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.
I keep working toward the day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for & wants me to be.
13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I am supposed to be,
but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing:
Forgetting the past
and looking forward to what lies ahead,
14 I strain to reach the end of the race
and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
"Forgetting the past..."
If anyone had a past, it was Paul.
He had thrown into jail Christ follower.
Jail was not a Club Med experience back then.
There is every indication these people he imprisoned were treated badly there, & some died or were killed.
Yeah, Paul had a lot to forget.
But he goes on to say that because of Jesus, Paul can look forward, not backward, knowing he is made right with God because of Jesus.
And so, he presses on to be & do what God had designed for him to be & do.
And remembers - Paul was in Rome, in prison, when He wrote this letter to the Christ followers in Philippi.
And we see the parallels - we've all got a past.
We all have things we've been or done that we wish we could forget - stuff that's not pretty, stuff that's pretty sinful.
But that was then, & this is now.
And the now is that we are made right with God through faith in Jesus as the way made for us to reconnect with God.
And now we are forgiven.
And now we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, Who was the Powerhouse that raised Jesus from the dead.
Yeah, we've all got lots to forget.
But God says to come follow Him, move forward, & quit looking back, because He has.