The past has a way of catching up to us. Sometimes it is an snide remark from someone who knew us before our new life in Christ. “Roderick, I remember when you used to be quite the _____________!” (You can fill in the blank.) At other times it is an old habit asking to be allowed just one more tryst, one more revel, or one more indulgence. And then there are old acquaintances and carnal brethren who unabashedly try to get us to live again as we used to. Do not be deceived; that life leads to only to loss and death (Ephesians 5:5-6).
But the behaviors of our life outside of Christ are works of the devil. Jesus came to destroy those works (1 John 3:8). How? By getting to the heart of the matter – our hearts. The behaviors were not the cause but symptom of something worse than wicked action – a wicked nature. The stuff we did was the outworking of our old nature – a nature that rejects the kingdom and its King (Ephesians 2:1-2). Our former rebellions and refusals to obey were not glorifying to God, good for others, or getting us anything worth having. Ultimately it was earning us the wrath of God.
But then He intervened (1 John 4:10). That is, the Son died for us and through faith in Him we have forgiveness, favor instead of wrath, and a wonderful future (John 10:10). He gave us a new nature! What kind of nature? Like His own. We are now children of God. When the past catches up to us we need to remember that we are not defined by who we were in the past, that the former things are not profitable, and that we have a new nature. A good tree bears good fruit!
Are there some shady things in my past? Yep. It is sad but true. But I am, by the grace of God, not that guy any longer. I have a new family headed by a good Father. And I choose to look more like Him. Through the Son I have broken ties with sin and can daily start working on the new me. The past, beloved, has passed away. Listen to a former hater that tried to destroy the church:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)