God is not a god of revenge. When Paul accepted Jesus as his savior, his sins were completely forgiven. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Additionally, God does not keep a list of forgiven sins and review them. Psalm 103:12, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Paul explains that he doesn’t dwell on his past sins because that’s the wrong focus. We daily confess our sins and seek forgiveness through Jesus’ blood. Then we focus on serving God the next day. Philippians 3:13(NLT), “…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” By following Jesus and keeping Him as our example, we are transformed into His character-likeness.
Stephen was stoned because he was serving God and proclaiming light. John 3:20, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” Paul was stoned (2 Corinthians 11:25) because he too was serving God. Both of these fine Christians were glorifying God in their characters, their words, and their actions. They were stoned because people hated the truths they were representing and thus wanted to kill them.