In these verses, Paul talks about “forgetting what is passed”.
Paul had a lot to forget.
Let's not forget that he started out persecuting the early followers of Jesus.
He went around fanatically throwing them into prison.
Prison was not a Club Med experience back then.
Many of them died.
Many were torn away from home, family, & friends.
Jesus had other plans for him & made him His own.
I'm sure it was a major point of embarrassment for Paul – it doesn't seem to be something he ever forgot about himself.
But even in the face of his murderous past, he knew he was forgiven of it by Jesus & moved on from it.
And while not looking back at his humongous failures, he accepted Jesus' forgiveness, & chose to move forward into what Jesus had in mind for him.
Should we each do the same?
Shouldn't we rest in the forgiveness of Jesus & move into whatever He has for us?
There is no virtue in always reminding ourselves what we used to be, beating ourselves up for it.
Perhaps the humblest thing we can do is to accept forgiveness & cleansing, & allow Jesus to shape us into Himself.
I like looking at the way different translators & paraphrasers handle a passage. There are always interesting wrinkles that come through a person's work.
Paul says the same thing, though in each treatment – I'm letting go of who I was & what I did, & move forward in the forgiveness offered to become more like Jesus.
Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (NLT)
but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Amplified)
But there is one thing I do:
I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me.
because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. (ERV)
But one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
nor do I consider myself already perfect.
But I keep going on,
grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me.
My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now.
But I do concentrate on this:
I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal:
my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ. (J B Phillips)
12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made.
But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.
Friends, don’t get me wrong:
By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this,
but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus.
I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. (The Message)
But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
but there’s one thing I am doing:
I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission.
to cross the line,
to win the prize,
and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed. (The Voice)