“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NKJV) Philippians 3:13-14.
Ever asked yourself why Jesus called Paul to be an Apostle despite having the twelve? Can we say Paul had a gift that Jesus wanted to use in Christianity? Considering the massive work, he did, the answer could possibly be, yes!
It was the gift he possessed while he was in Judaism and it was still this same gift he used when he came into Christianity. Even though his past was full of sinful acts, pain, hatred, sadness and sorrows, he didn’t dwell on the terrible past he had, because he realized that his past made him who he was in Christianity. He understood that every successful story has a painful history.
A past life has a lot of influence on a person's present life, especially the sinful ones. The devil always dwells on our guilt to discourage us and make us think our numerous sins cannot be forgiven and we cannot please the Lord. This belief makes us sin more and more just as we see exhibited by Judas Iscariot in Matthew 27:3-5. However, this belief is not true, and the devil is a liar. We can break loose and make a change even if our past is filled with sins we think can never be forgiven.
Joseph (Gen. 37-47) had a past full of ill-feeling, hatred, maltreatment by his brothers, sorrows, and pain but he never allows those things to rule over his present but rather he was inspired and motivated by it. Judas and Peter committed some sin (they denied/betrayed Christ), all wept bitterly over the sin committed, Judas died in his sin while Peter was saved from his sin. Peter repented and asked for forgiveness of his sins while Judas didn't.
The Apostle Paul had killed many Christians (Stephen in Acts 7:58, 8:1) and persecuted Christians (Galatians 1:14) but his sin was forgiven by the precious blood of Christ because His blood is able and capable to forgive all sins and clear guilts including yours. Paul had the option to allow his past way him down or refuse to let his past obstruct his progress towards his goal and prevent him from using his gift. To God's glory, he chose the latter.
Similarly, God is ready to forgive our sins so we can use what we already have for His glory. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)
James 5:15 says, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
God is ever willing to forgive you, it is up to you to do your part - obey, repent and confess your sins. God bless you, beloved!