One of the great passages in Scripture that gives a before and after picture of God’s people is Ephesians 2:1-10:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Verses 1-3 give the before picture and verses 4-10 give the after picture. Recently as I was meditating through this passage it struck me that the “before picture” of verses 1-3 is point by point a contrast with the “after picture” of a believer’s life as explained throughout all Scripture.
- You used to be “dead in your trespasses and sins” but now you are “alive to God” (Romans 6:11)
- Previously “you formerly walked” in those sins, but “now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8)
- You used to walk in your sins “according to the course of this world”, but now “you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15)
- You used to walk in your sins “according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,” but now the Holy Spirit is at work in you for “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God” (1 Corinthians 6:18).
- You used to be one of the “sons of disobedience” but now you are part of those that have “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5)
- You used to live ‘in the lusts of [your] flesh indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind,” but now you strive by God’s grace to “walk by the Spirit” in order that you might not “carry out the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
- You used to be “by nature [a child] of wrath” but now you have been “justified by His grace” and therefore “made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7)
If you have trusted in Christ alone this is your story. Your story used to be very ugly, but God intervened. You were dead spiritually, but God made you alive together with Christ, by grace and grace alone you have been saved.