From the Inside Out

A Superficial Makeover

The program committee for a national barber’s convention devised a graphic means of demonstrating the effectiveness of their profession.

They found a homeless man with long, dirty hair. His face was unshaven and his clothes were ragged and filthy. His body reeked with odors of cheap liquor and filth.

The barbers cleaned him up. They gave him a bath, shampoo, shave, haircut, and manicure. They liberally sprinkled talcum powder on him and added spicy cologne. He was dressed in a new suit and was presented before the convention as a changed man. He certainly looked the part.

However, within a week the man was back on skid row, back in the gutter, back in his former pattern of living. The barbers had altered his appearance, but their efforts had not changed him on the inside.

A Spiritual Metamorphosis

Jesus said, “First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean” (Matthew 23:26). He was referring to the inward person or heart, which controls a person’s conduct, when he referred to the inside of the cup and plate. It doesn’t matter how good a person may look outwardly; he is nothing but a dirty vagabond on the inside if his heart, attitude, and character have not been changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Due to our sin, each of us is on “skid row,” destined to die (Romans 6:23). But God loves us so much that he gave his only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16) so that we might have forgiveness and the hope of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Titus 3:7).

The Catalyst of True Change

All those who obey the gospel (Romans 1:5; 16:26; Hebrews 5:9) experience a marvelous transformation. The apostle Paul refers to this spiritual metamorphosis with these words: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).

The change that Christ desires to bring about in our lives is not superficial. Rather, we are transformed by Christ from the inside out!

The Apostle Paul explained the change that occurs in the penitent believer when he is baptized into Christ: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:3-4).

Anyone who has the money to spend can put a man in a new suit, but only Christ can put a new man in the suit.

–(Adapted) David Sargent