Before and After
This last Sunday I talked about the incredible before and after picture the apostle Paul painted for us in Ephesians 2. I have seen some pretty dramatic before and after shots but Ephesians 2 was probably the most impressive. Paul vividly describes the state of man before the redemptive work of Christ and then the amazing state we find ourselves after His work is applied to our hearts. I had pointed out that there were three real distinct befores that Christ turns into powerful afters: Death to life, a lifestyle of sin to being raised up to holiness and from objects of wrath to objects of grace. While all three of these represent an amazing work of Christ the one I have been focused on in my own heart since Sunday is our being moved from spiritually dead to spiritually alive.
The idea that our "spirit man" is dead until the Spirit of Christ inhabits us is heart shattering for me. When I read Romans 8 it blows my mind to realize the great blessing that we in Christ now enjoy:
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
To think that without Christ in me my spirit is dead to the beautiful Spirit of God is sobering to me. It is a tremendous point of rejoicing in my life and a significant piece of insight as we reach out to others. See, Romans makes it clear earlier in the passage that those who have not been enlightened to God's Spirit can't comprehend and obey God's truth:
7For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
And therefore we have to realize peoples lives only be changed in conjunction with a work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It's not by sound reasoning, shame, guilt or pursuasion, it is by His Spirit.
This truth should lead us to gratefully "bath" in the Spirit of God and dilligently pray for the Spirit's working in others. The transformation of the heart of man is a Holy Spirit work, may we seek the Spirit in all we do.