Dealing with the Past

Thursday, Jan. 5                      

“The past is a reference point, not a residence.”—Bill Heffernan, in Guideposts, Nov. 2016.  This is not a new truth to most of us, but it’s a neat, pithy,  and precise way of saying it.  Figures of speech usually are.  They catch our attention.  It’s been said that we should not live in the past and I have no trouble with that.  But the Bible would be about one-third smaller if all references to the past were eliminated.  The Old Testament is used over and over to help explain something in the New Testament.  Types and analogies in the Old Testament cover almost all passages in the New Testament.  I don’t know how many O.T. quotations there are in the N.T., but it has to be in the hundreds.  There are direct statements in the N.T. having to do with this subject.  Paul says in Phil. 3:13-14 “But one thing I do;  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me . . .”  But he did refer to things in his past at times, both negative things and positive things.  He called himself the “chief” of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15), probably because of his persecution of the early church (Gal. 1:13).  But he also said some positive things about his past.  He spent three years in the desert being tutored personally by God to prepare him for his ministry (Gal. 1:12).   But what consumed him was the ministry that was still before him.  In short, he referenced the past but did not reside there.  Thank you, Bill.

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