Summary: Forget Your Past and Press on - Your Past is No Excuse
1 Corinthians 7:20-24: “Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.
What Paul is saying here is that your past or even your present circumstances are no excuse or disqualification to serve God. The Bible has an ample list of fallen people who had pretty sketchy pasts, but were redeemed. They had faith in and a repentant heart for God; and God in his gracious sovereignty used them for His purpose and will. As He will you when you truly give your life to Him. Why do I say truly? Because saying “I gave my life to Christ” is one thing, but saying “I am picking up my cross daily for Jesus” is another entirely. When God calls you, obey the will of God no matter what your life has amounted to thus far. We all fall short, but do not limit what God can do with you for His ambition and His glory.
Who was I? A liar, a thief, a murderer at heart, a blasphemer, a coveter…etc. But do you know what the worst thing is that I have done in my life? I ran from God. I would wear out, fall down, get up and run again. I kept running from Him again and again and again over the course of my life. A vicious circle of repetitive failures, trying to do things in my own strength. I finally ran to the point where I was so exhausted; to the point I felt like dying. Have you felt like that? Why do we think that we can run from God who is Omnipresent (everywhere)? Or try to outsmart Him when He is Omniscient (all-knowing)? Or even think we are stronger than Him when He is Omnipotent (all-powerful)?
I remember finally falling to my knees and looking back with any foolish fortitude I thought that I had left; I saw Jesus right behind me, waiting with open arms. My past is nothing but; it is past. It is gone. I think many of us forget how the beauty of our salvation in Jesus Christ works. Listen; will I answer for the mistakes of my past before I was saved? No. They are forgiven and forgotten. If you are not saved, all of your sins in the past can be and are forgiven when you truly turn to Christ in repentance and ask Him into your heart as Lord and Savior of your life. Christ paid for you on the cross and all you have to do is receive His free gift of salvation and eternal life. Isaiah 43:25: “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins. But, but, we will bear the consequences and punishments of those past and present sins.
King David after his sin with Bathsheba in Psalm 51 wrote: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me…” David was forgiven, but bore the brunt of the penalties of those immoralities for the rest of His life. All sin that we commit is against God who is perfect and there has to be justice. Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are born in sin and will perish in sin if we do not ask Jesus to save us from them.
Christians must continually repent to God to stay in fellowship with Him. We will answer and give an account for the things that we will do and have done since we gave our hearts to Christ. But, God will take the bad in our past for use to glorify Him and help others in our present and our future. That is why intimacy and abidance in God’s will is so essential in our Christian walk with Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14: ... But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.