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David's Deliberations . . .

Before and After

31 January 2021

You've seen this type of advertisement. A new diet product shows a picture of a person before and after they diet. A new line of house paint shows the house before and after the expertly, professionally done paint job. "Before and After" shows on television offering makeovers of people, gardens, houses, etc. are among the most watched. We see what can be accomplished with the right product(s) or know-how.

In Ephesians 2, Paul describes a spiritual "before and after" project, showing one's real spiritual condition before and after being saved by the blood of Christ.

Before conversion, one is dead in sins (Ephesians 2:1). "Dead" means separated. Physical death separates body and spirit. Spiritual death separates a person from God. This separation is caused by people "walking according to the course of this world" (Ephesians 2:2), having a "spirit of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2), and "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind" (Ephesians 2:3).

After conversion, one is dead to sin (Romans 6:1-7). One who is dead to sin does not continue in it or serve it (Romans 6:1, 6). One who is dead to sin has a "new life" in Christ (Romans 6:4), and is "alive to God" (Romans 6:11)

Before conversion, one is engaged in the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), a life characterized by a "vain mind" (Ephesians 4:17) and given to "sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity" (Ephesians 4:19).

After conversion, one walks in "good works" (Ephesians 2:10), devoted to the activities God has commanded (2 Timothy 3:16-17), using his life to the glory of God (Ephesians 3:20), and leading others to glorify Him (Matthew 5:16).

Before conversion, one is a "child of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3). "Children of disobedience" will know this wrath (anger) of God (Ephesians 5:6). "The wages of sin is death" (separation from God; Romans 6:23), punishment will result in an eternity away from the presence of God (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

After conversion, one is a child of God! He is reconciled to God (no separation; Ephesians 2:16). He has access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). He is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). He is a member of God's household (family; Ephesians 2:19), and is therefore, an "heir of God" with an inheritance reserved in heaven" (Romans 8:14, 17; see 1 Peter 3, 5).

There is great change involved in conversion, brought about by God's love for us, the power of Christ's blood, and the power of the gospel.

Do you need a spiritual makeover? The gospel is the "power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). Tap into this power today and begin your makeover by obeying the gospel.

—David Carl Swanson