We have all seen them. Before and After photos on television. There are before and after “The Lifestyle Lift”, before and after “Weight Watchers”, before and after “Extreme Makeover” as on the Today Show with Hoda Kotbe and Kathie Lee Gifford. How about Before and After where they tear down or gut someone’s home and remake it into House Beautiful? Then there are the movies – like romantic comedies where the boy who is a buffoon entirely incapable of commitment in any relationship, meets the girl of his dreams, and, still, it takes him the entire movie and many mishaps before he comes to the solid and satisfying realization that he simply cannot live without her and runs, flies, races, after her taxi, airplane, bicycle or whatever mode of transportation she is using to leave his sorry self behind, finally to stand before her and declare his undying love and earnest desire to be with her forever! Yeah. I’ve seen it too, and we appropriately, smile, or quietly weep, or at least let tears brim our eyelids politely as it warms the cockles of our little hearts.
Before and After….nothing compares to the ULTIMATE Before and After, performed by the God of The Universe. Think about it. Look in the mirror. Once we were “dead in trespasses and sins”.
(Ephesians 2:4-10) (But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, 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 coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not 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, that we should walk in them.)
Did we choose Christ? No. He chose us! Can a “dead man” make a choice? We were dead and He “made us alive” together with Christ, and then He gave us the Gift of Faith to believe in Him. Before he “made us alive” we had a “heart of stone”. He gave us a heart of flesh! Can a “heart of stone” love God? Can a “heart of stone” have faith? Can a “heart of stone” believe The Gospel? NO.
(1Corinthians 1:18) “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
That has to be the Ultimate “Before and After”. “Before” we were dead. “Before” we had a heart of stone. “Before” we were incapable of loving God as dead men. “After” we have been given a heart of flesh. “After” we have been given the “Gift of faith”. “After” we have been made alive together with Christ, and adopted into the family of God. I submit to you, there is no greater “Before and After” on the planet.