Keeping the Past in the Photographs

Several days ago, I heard a song on the radio that really struck a cord with me.

Written by Josh Wilson and Ben Glover, it’s entitled That Was Then, This is Now.*  Here are the words:

We used to hide from the light
We made friends with the night
We were headed the wrong way on a one way track
Going nowhere fast

We got used to the dark
We thought this is who we are
And we figured that we were just too far gone
But we were wrong

‘Cause love came running like a river
And we got washed in the water
Then He said you’re forgiven
Your sins are gone

That was then, this is now
You’re bought by the blood, saved by the Son the saints all sing about
That was lost, this is found
And it’s time to say goodbye to the old you now

So go ahead, put the past in the past
Box it up like an old photograph 
You don’t have to go back
‘Cause that was then and this is now 

We’ve been remade by grace
We’ve all got new names
And nothing we do could ever change
What He did that day

When love came running like a river
We got washed in the water
Then He said you’re forgiven
And you belong

That was then, this is now
You’re bought by the blood, saved by the Son the saints all sing about
That was lost, this is found
And it’s time to say goodbye to the old you now

So go ahead, put the past in the past
Box it up like an old photograph 
You don’t have to go back
‘Cause that was then 

If we turn and confess every unrighteousness
He is faithful and just to forgive
Oh, so turn and confess every wrong and regret
And see what it means to live

That was then, this is now
You’re bought by the blood, saved by the Son the saints all sing about
That was lost, this is found
And it’s time to say goodbye to the old you now

So go ahead, put the past in the past
Box it up like an old photograph 
You don’t have to go back
‘Cause that was then and this is now 
‘Cause that was then and this is now 

When I heard that song, a familiar and significant phrase came to mind:

“such were some of you”

It’s found in this passage in 1 Corinthians, chapter six:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

That’s my old life contrasted with my new life!  I don’t know about your past before Jesus, but several of the sins mentioned by the Apostle Paul in this passage accurately described me before I was washed, sanctified and justified.  My sexuality was out of control.  I stole when I got the chance.  I was consumed with covetousness.  I was a drunkard, quickly headed toward alcoholism.  The old photographs of me are not flattering.  But!  But God invaded!  He radically changed me and continues to do so.  I am definitely not what I once was.  I am definitely not what I will be.  Paul’s message, like that of the song quoted above, is that I am to walk in the newness of life (2 Cor. 5).  I am to live Christ in the present, not returning to the sinful practices of the past.  That was then, this is now.

And now is better.

Here’s a video of the song:

*Publishing: © 2015 Meaux Jeaux Music / Rock And A Harding Place / 9T One Songs / Ariose Music (ASCAP) 

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