Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13, 14).
“One thing” is of supreme importance, and that one thing he does: he forgets “the things which are behind.” Not that he does not remember them, and does not know of them any more, but his mind is not fixed on them any longer. He does not look back on them in such a way that they impede his further progress. The recollections of what he was in his former unconverted state must not paralyze and discourage him; disappointments and temptations of the past must not depress him; the thought of what God had already done for him and through him must not lead him to slackness and self-satisfaction. The hand is put to the plough and he will not look back.
The question is not, have we attained to perfection? but, are we in the track of it? To hold up perfection before men as a present and instant attainment, is as presumptuous as it would be to expect the child by one leap to put himself by the side of the venerable scholar. The command is not, be finished in grace, but grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is fatal to Christian progress to limit any element of the Christian character to present attainment.
Paul insists upon this, that he may convince the Philippians that he thinks of nothing but Christ—knows nothing else—is occupied with no other subject of meditation. In connection with this, there is much weight in what he now adds—that he himself, while he had given up all hindrances, had nevertheless not attained ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more