Before and After Jesus

How great is your transformation in Christ? Well, let’s see who you were before that took place:

…you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Eph. 2:1 – 3. ESV

Who are you now?

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding richness of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:4 – 10. NKJV

God loved you even before He helps you clean up the mess that you made of your life. When you choose Him, through Christ, God pulls you away from the clutches of Satan; and you are no longer grouped with the ‘sons of disobedience’ (those whose promised future is one of annihilation).

You were dead spiritually, but now you are alive by the grace of God through Christ – all because you were obedient and exercised your faith, which draws in the free gift of God’s salvation. You have been raised to sit in heavenly places, meaning that you have a vital role in advancing the kingdom of heaven, a role that God Himself will reveal to you.

Yet hold on! There’s even more to your transformation:

But now [at this very moment] in Christ Jesus you who once were [so very] far away [from God] have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace and our bond of unity. He has made both groups – [Jews and Gentiles] – into one body and broke down the barrier, the dividing wall [of spiritual antagonism between us], by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the hostility caused by the Law with its commandments contained in its ordinances [which He satisfied]; so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thereby establishing peace. Eph. 2:13 – 15. AMP

God’s intent was for there to be only one church, with Christ as its head; and for it to welcome all peoples (Jews and Gentiles alike), that make Jesus their Savior and do their best to walk in His gospel. If you are a member of that church, you are now on God’s team:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Eph. 2:19 – 22. NKJV

You have a heavenly citizenship, and you are a spiritual part of this church of Christ, the holy temple of God. So, being that you are a vital spiritual member of the Love Church, it would behoove you to search out a physical church to be involved with. Why? Because it is in imperative to hang out with like-minded Christians, so that you can draw strength from each other to stay strong and accountable in your faith.

Church is also a good place to bring people who are still dabbling in the world, so that they can be immersed in the corporate love of God. You are the Love Church. And that being so, God tells you how to be it:

…walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Eph. 4:1 – 3. ESV

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men… Eph. 4:11 – 14. NKJV

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Eph. 4:15, 16. ESV

The Love Church then, is filled with Love Children – those who walk humbly in love and unity, as they exercise their God-given gifts of the Spirit, to edify one another in their kingdom purpose: bringing the saving love of God, through Christ, as a beacon to those who still dwell in the darkness of this world.

And if we are to stand as an image of that church, we have to step up to a higher standard – one of righteousness:

…regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation]. Eph. 4:22 – 24. AMP

Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. “Be angry and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers…And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:25 – 29 & 32. NKJV

In other words, God asks us to refrain from our old ways of being, when we were ruled by the flesh instead of the spirit:

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the dark, but rather expose them. Eph. 5:6 – 11. NKJV

Before Jesus, we were the darkness. After we made our covenant with Him, we are His transcendent light, turned back around, and sent forth to the darkness to gather His lost sheep:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph. 6:10, 11. NKJV

If God tells us to be strong in Him, then we must be able to do that, because God cannot lie. He goes on to say that we gather our strength by continually immersing ourselves in His word – fortifying ourselves with His truth, peace, righteousness and the certainty of His salvation, which He sends to us in response to our earnest prayer. (Eph. 6:12 – 18.)  If we do this, God promises us that there will be nothing that we can’t overcome…

Goodnight and God bless.