Remember from where you came

I’ve been reminded from Matthew 13, with the parable of the Weeds and Wheat, that the weeds (Darnel/Tares) are able to be born again spiritually into Wheat. It’s a whole-person transformation which makes us a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yet sometimes we forget what we have been saved from, what we were like without Jesus Christ. And in forgetting, we diminish our appreciation for the enormity of salvation.

Moses records the Lord’s instruction immediately before being given the ten commandments. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm… (Deuteronomy 5:15). Israel’s 400 years of slavery under Egypt was a vivid reminder of the enormous transformation God performed for them by delivering them from Egyptian slavery. So it is for the Christian. Through faith in Jesus Christ we have been transferred from sin’s slavery to slavery in obedience and righteousness (Romans 6:16-18). The two patterns of life are completely different because the heart’s affections have changed radically. Love for sin has been exchanged for love for Christ.

Obviously, we are not to wallow in a morbid state of remembering our past lives, but to rejoice in the work of God. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:21-22). This new standing before God in Jesus Christ has liberated us from being alienated enemies to being clean from any accusations before Holy God. We are now accepted, loved, and precious to God. The contrast is monumental and should always be appreciated as the greatest works of God’s grace.

Therefore, the Lord wants to use you and I to reach the darnel of this world who are like what we once were. This is because we remember what we were saved from and are better equipped to relate to them and communicate with understanding. We are better equipped to explain the realities of spiritual life with terminology and Scripture that highlight their need of a Saviour. This is an integral part of making disciples who will follow Christ faithfully.

It is this concept that Paul had in mind when he instructed the Corinthian church to be imitators of me, as I am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Paul only wanted the Corinthian’s to imitate the Jesus they saw through Paul. Similarly, Paul tells of the way the believers of Galatia responded to both Paul and the gospel. The Galatians heard that “He (Paul) who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me (Galatians 1:23-24). The transformation in Paul’s life was unmistakable, people noticed it, and Paul capitalised on it for spreading the good news of Jesus.

Paul never hid what His pre-Christian life was like, although He didn’t skite about it either. But he used his past to praise God, boasting in Jesus’ gospel accomplishments (1Co 1:31), and to open a door into people’s hearts for the truth of Jesus. As Paul confessed to Timothy, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy… (1 Timothy 1:13). So, in remembering our old lives, the compassionate mercy of God is highlighted, and we are motivated to share Jesus Christ with others, some of whom are just like we used to be.

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