That Was Then, This is Now (Part 2)

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Galatians 2:20

That Was Then
“The flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit…” Galatians 5:17

Darkness represents sin in the Bible for good reason. Darkness and light cannot co-exist. Light dispels darkness and exposes whatever is hidden by the darkness. If we are behaving in a manner we know is wrong and don’t want others to know about, we do it in secret, in the dark, where sin doesn’t look so bad. We like to be alone or with others who are doing the same things. We don’t want to be anywhere near the light where our sin will be uncovered and we would be forced to see it for the evil that it is. And we certainly don’t want to be around people who would not approve of our deeds or who would disclose them.

Josh Wilson describes our condition before we chose to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior in his song, “That Was Then, This is Now”:

“We used to hide from the light
We made friends with the night
We were headed the wrong way on a one way track
Going nowhere fast
We got used to the dark
We thought this is who we are”

In Galatians and Ephesians, the apostle Paul gives us a long list of reminders that describe our former life in the dark:

Indulged in the flesh
Gratified the desires of the flesh
Did whatever we wanted
Sexually immoral
Engaged in debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft
Filled with hatred, discord, jealousy and rage
Selfishly ambitious
Participated in orgies
Sowed to please the flesh
Followed the ways of this world and Satan
Lived like the Gentiles
Futile thinking
Darkened in understanding
Separated from the life of God
Hardened heart
Lost all sensitivity
Given over to sensuality
Indulged in every kind of impurity
Full of greed
Corrupted by deceitful desires
Tolerated the Devil and gave him a place to stand in our life
Unwholesome talker
Foolish talker
Enjoyed coarse joking

Thanks to the great love, mercy and grace of our God, we don’t have to live like that.

This is Now
“and the Spirit [desires] what is contrary to the flesh.” Galatians 5:17

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. We were once dead in our sin, but are now alive; once lost and now found. Luke 15:24. If we abide in Christ, he will light our path and direct our steps. Inwardly, we will be renewed day by day. As we refuse to conform to the pattern of this world, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2.

As Josh Wilson croons:

“That was then, this is now
You’re bought by the blood, saved by the Son the saints all sing about
That was lost, this is found
And it’s time to say goodbye to the old you now”

In the books of Galatians and Ephesians, the apostle Paul gives us this detailed glimpse of what we become after we decide to walk in the light and follow the example of Christ. Not overnight, mind you, but gradually as we live out our faith:

Humble servant
Loves neighbor as self
Walks by the Spirit
Lives by the Spirit
Keeps in step with the Spirit
Exhibits the fruit of the Spirit:
• Love
• Joy
• Peace
• Patience
• Kindness
• Goodness
• Faithfulness
• Gentleness
• Self-control
Sows to please the Spirit
Does good to all people, especially those in the family of God
God’s handiwork
Created in Christ to do good works
God’s Spirit lives in us
Heirs with Israel
A life worthy of the calling of Christ
Bears with one another in love
Unified in the Spirit through the bond of peace
Speaks the truth in love
Created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness
Does not steal
Work so that they can share with those in need
Speaks to build others up
Follows God’s example
Walks in the way of love
Fragrant offering
Sacrifice to God
Thankful always
Avoids the fruitless deeds of darkness
Illuminates and exposes the darkness
Risen from the dead
Makes the most of every opportunity
Understands the Lord’s will
Filled with the Spirit
Speaks through songs
Sings to the Lord
Makes music from our heart to the Lord
Submits to each other
Suited up, armor on, battle ready
Strong in the Lord
Strong in God’s mighty power
Recognizes and defeats the enemy’s schemes
Stands firm
Warrior of the Word
Prays always
Shares the Gospel

Before and after. Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Make me, mold me, fill me, use me – now and ever after, always, only, for my King.

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