There were two sets of before and after pictures. They were pictures of two people’s mouths – before and after dental work. The before picture in the first set showed some crooked teeth and a few others with cavities. The after picture naturally showed the same mouth but now with perfectly straight teeth and not a cavity in sight. This set touted the work of one dentist.
The second set, touting the work of another dentist, showed a much more drastic change. That before picture revealed a mouth with major problems. As you looked at the picture, you wondered how the person could even close his mouth or eat anything. The after picture amazingly resembled the after picture of the first set – perfectly aligned teeth with not a problem in sight. It was obvious that a highly skilled dentist worked on it.
Obviously, I don’t want to talk about dentists. I want to talk about how wonderfully God has worked on me. And one way that I can emphasize his incredible work is by showing people my before picture. The Bible paints it vividly. I was a lawless rebel. (1 John 3:4). I was totally corrupt and evil. (Genesis 8:21) I was spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) always doing sin’s biding. (John 8:34) I did no good; I was worthless (Romans3:10-12). A viler picture could not be drawn. That was my picture – really, not figuratively.
But then the Lord worked on me. He washed me and cleansed me (1 John 1:7). He made me spiritually alive (Eph. 2 5). He created a new heart within me (2 Cor.5:17). He changed me from being a slave of sin to a slave of righteousness (Rom.6:17-18). He adopted me into his family (Gal. 4:5). He sanctified me and made me holy (Heb.10:10-14). He did this all for me through Jesus Christ.
The tremendous contrast between my before and after pictures emphasizes the greatness of what God has done. But when that contrast is lessened, when the before picture is of a basically good person who needs a little work, then God is robbed of his glory. And robbing God of his glory is no small thing.