Hands up who remembers a pseudo Welshman who wore outrages shirts with huge cuffs called Laurence? Right, you’re banned from ever commenting!
For those who didn’t raise their hands, Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen was a pretty big deal back in the 90’s. He was made famous as an interior designer on the reality home-makeover show, Changing Rooms. The premise of the show was to take a boring old room and spruce it up again, make it sparkly and new. The show was such a success that it spawned a whole host of copycat shows which persevere to this day. Shows which essential break down into three vital elements: The Before, The After and the Star of the Show.
The before is always an attempt to show how run down, tired or old something was. Be it a room, a house, a business or even a person.
The after is always an attempt to show how wonderful, fresh, new, beautiful and exciting it has been made.
And nearly always the Star of the Show is the one with the expertise, the know how, the gifts to make the transition a reality.
But it’s not a new formula. It’s one the Apostle Paul used to good effect when he wrote the Christian’s in Colossae, writing to remind them what they were BC, Before Christ, and AD, after the ‘Star of the Show’ had worked salvation in them.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.22 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
He lays bear the state that we are all in before (or outside) of Jesus. People entirely separated from God, cut off from Him, aliens. A people hostile to God in our thoughts and our actions. Living and breathing as if we’re at the centre of the Universe not Him.
He also shines light on our state after Jesus has reconciled us. Not holier than thou but His, belonging to Him, and set apart for Him. Perfect in His eyes just as Jesus was.
How could such a difference come about? What made for such a contrasted before/after? Jesus, His death, which reconciles.
Often we understand our status before God as guilty, but we forget that has repercussions. That that guilt brings separation from God. Likewise we understand that in Christ, because of Jesus, we are innocent. But we also forget that has repercussions too. That our innocence allows for us to be brought near to God, adopted even.
When Jesus died He didn’t simply make the guilty innocent, He reunited an alien people with their God, He reconciled.
The Gospel according to Paul (in the style of Changing Rooms) is we were a separated people who now are set apart because Jesus reconciled. That’s a good gospel, that’s great news.