Before … and After
“4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!
12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.” Acts 4: 1-3, 9-10 and 12
Isn’t it interesting how we long to be like the “After” pictures in the diet programs and the home remodels. These pictures show us snapshots, not the process. With our Christian faith God turns this model around. Our salvation is secured once we confess our faith in Jesus Christ, before we do or have done anything!
God made the way of salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He made the way of salvation before you and I were born. And the work of the cross was finished before we came on the scene. Right standing before God was credited to Abraham before he was circumcised. And notice, that Abraham obeyed God and departed for the land that the Lord would show him, before he even knew where he was going (Genesis 12:1).
Now that we have embraced the free gift of salvation through Jesus by God’s grace, what does this “before” concept mean for us today? Could it mean that we show love to others before they are kind and loving toward us? What about in the workplace? We may be working in jobs where we are not reaching our full potential or not receiving sufficient support. Or perhaps we may not have a job at all.
If we take on the mind of Christ it means that we think, act and do those things that He would have us do. So, like Joseph, we perform at our best even when we think no-one is looking (Genesis 40), and when the situation we are in is really not where we want to be at all, or where we believe we deserve to be. And trust God that in due season we will reap a harvest of the good seed we have sown, even if that may be hearing our Father say “well done” when we reach the other side.