Paul never forgot his past, yet, in another sense, he totally forgot it. He once wrote,
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Tim. 1:12-15).
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God (1 Cor. 15:9).
Yet, in Philippians 3:13-14, Paul says,
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
So, in one sense, Paul never forgot his past and how he’d persecuted the Lord. Yet, in another sense, he put that completely behind him and pressed toward the prize, working feverishly in the kingdom of Christ. This is a pattern for Christians today, too. Do not ever forget that you are a sinner saved by the grace of God, but don’t dwell on it to the point of wallowing in self-pity and being hindered in serving God. Remember, but forget. This is one of the several paradoxes of Christianity – we are dead, but alive (dead to sin, alive to Christ); we are free, but slaves (free from sin, willing servants to Christ); salvation is free, but it costs everything (can’t pay for it, but must give all to God). There might be a sermon in there somewhere! 😛