On Christian Life

The Two Most Life-Changing Words EVER

Words are powerful. Nothing else has the power to destroy or heal, to build or tear down, to mend or rip apart. In fact, just two words have powerfully changed my life.

“I do.”

“It’s inoperable.”

“She’s dead.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re hired.”

I would guess that you’ve heard some of those yourself. Even now, just reading the words on the screen, those two little words bring a flood of emotion and memory. You remember where you were standing, what you were wearing, what day it was when you heard them.

A mere two words can have a powerful effect on who we are and who we become. They can shape our destiny by calling us to greatness or destroy our lives by shaking us to the core.

When we read the New Testament there are two words that summarize all of the Christian life. Within these two words is the power to change the direction and shape of our destiny. These words look back on our lives before we knew Jesus, look in the mirror at our lives with Jesus now and look ahead to our eternal life with Jesus.

Throughout the New Testament these two words are used seven times, calling us to celebrate the ending of the war at the hands of our Savior but urging us to continue fighting battles until the very end.

Christian, without these two words your life wouldn’t be changed. You wouldn’t be saved. You wouldn’t have cause to celebrate or any eternity to look forward to. We would all be dead on arrival were it not for these two words.

But now.

Seven times in the New Testament these two words describe all that Christ has done for you and what your new life with him looks like. They tell you who you are in Christ.

You are Welcomed

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10

You were once standing outside the door, miserable, cold and lonely. Then you knocked, and the door opened. There stood Jesus, not with a look of disapproval but holding a towel welcoming you in. You were once outside, BUT NOW you’re welcomed in.

You are Alive

21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:21-23

Once you accepted his invitation and came in, there was so much more. In place of your wet rags, you were given fresh clothes. The mud was washed from you and your hair was dried. You were once covered head to toe in dirt, BUT NOW you’re clean and warm and safe on the inside. You’re alive.

You are Righteous

20 For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Romans 3:20-22

After getting cleaned up, the mess is just a memory. You left a trail of muddy footprints down the hall when you entered, but then you were washed and your wet, dirty rags were destroyed. You used to be separated from God because of the way you lived, BUT NOW God only sees you through the blood of his son Jesus. You aren’t a sinner. You are righteous.

You are Free

While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit. Romans 7:6

Maybe you’ve seen the extravagance of being cleaned over and over and over. Maybe you’ve felt embarrassed that you just can’t seem to follow all the rules right. This new place you’re in, it’s full of every good thing you need, but the outside world still calls you. You used to respond to it, hearing the call and going along, BUT NOW instead of the outside world clinging to you like mud, no dirt can stick. You’re Teflon. You’re impervious. You’re Free.

You are Adopted

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—Ephesians 5:8

You never had a family like this. You grew up hurt and forgotten. You made your way on your own or followed people who led you into dark places. You used to be alone, BUT NOW Instead of being a dirty rugrat ignored and forgotten, you’re the beautiful, cleaned up child. You are adopted, a child of the King.

You are Reconciled

12 remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13

When you were on the outside, maybe you knew about God. You just weren’t sure you would be allowed in. You used to think you should get cleaned up before knocking. So you disqualified and discounted yourself not understanding God, BUT NOW you’re inside his house and God wants a relationship with you. It’s not enough that he’s brought you in, but he wants to have a relationship with you. You used to be distant, BUT NOW you’re embraced. You are reconciled.

You are Exonerated

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian. Galatians 3:23-25

From now on when God looks at you, he doesn’t see “sinner”. He only sees his son Jesus who died for you. You were once guilty, BUT NOW and forever you are innocent of all charges. You’re released from the eternal jail cell your sin earned. You’re free from the Jailer who wants you dead. You’re free from the Prosecutor who calls you guilty. You stand before the Judge, knowing full well all the accusations against you. The gavel comes down.

“Innocent of all charges!”

But now. Let the power of those words sink in. Let them nourish your souls and salve your wounds. Let the power of those words change how you see yourself. You are a precious child of the living God, a son or daughter of the King.

We have been bought at a price. The free gift of life we get through the blood of the Lord Jesus turns the “back then” of our sin into the “but now” of grace. There are no more powerful, life-changing words than the “but now” of a life in Christ.

How different is your life with Jesus from your life without him? Mine is radically different. Please comment below with your thoughts on the “but now” of your life.

I am a husband, a father and a follower of Christ. I have been an entrepreneur, a pastor and a politician. Through many hardships I have learned lessons about faith and life. I am also a contributing writer on faithbeyondfear.com. Follow me on Twitter @twelve2nds. If you want to contact me, write me at chipmattis@gmail.com.

30 Comments

  • Alynda Long

    Chip, what a lovely post about Christ’s goodness in our lives! I’ve been struggling with some self doubt about my writing journey lately, yet the solid reminder of Christ’s intentionality in my life is perfectly timed! Blessings to you!

    • Chip Mattis

      Thanks, Alynda! First, I’m sorry you’re doubting your writing. I hate seasons like that. Just don’t stay there long. None of us doubt you or your writing.
      Second, thanks for reading and commenting. I have been thinking about this post for a while. It had brought a lot of encouragement to me in my time with God, and I wanted to share. I hope it helped.

  • Yvonne

    Something I had never pondered but now I will. I loved your post. As I think about my past, the “but now” moments sound a lot like the first verse of Amazing Grace. I was lost but now I am found, I was blind but now I see. Jesus does change everything about us. Thanks

  • Jennifer @ Minding the Kings

    This is such an inspiring and encouraging post. BUT NOW, I am a new creation! BUT NOW we have hope! Thank you Chip for pointing this truth out to us!

  • Christina Dronen

    Love love love this!! I think so often we live on the wrong side of the”but.” We act like we’ve never known mercy, forgiveness, or like we’ve been outsiders.

    But now… I am FREE
    Free from any bondage to sin
    Free from generational sins and evils that I might be doomed to repeat without Christ
    Free from legalism
    Free from perfectionism
    Free from worldly judgement

    Free to live and believe what God says about me in Christ.

    • Chip Mattis

      Thanks, Christina! It feels wasteful for God to love us like he does. He’s an extravagant God. For me, freedom from legalism is key. I naturally want law, but God wants me to have faith and trust him. The minute I trust my good behavior over his mercy, I’ve missed it. I’m so glad he’s good to me. Thanks for commenting!

  • Ted

    It’s easy to gloss over that as just a grammatical transition or perhaps just a rough translation from Greek to English. Solid points on how to look deeper when we read scripture.

  • karentfriday

    Chip, this is fresh and new insight. We hear sermons and read writings on “But God” which are powerful words as well. “But now” reminds us that we are not who we used to be and life will never be the same again, not now and not ever! Love that but now I am welcomed, adopted, righteous…so many wonderful things!

    • Chip Mattis

      Thanks, Karen! Yes, But God is a strong reminder of who he is. But Now is our reminder of who we are. Well said. This has been so important for me that I wanted to share it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Milton Goh

    Life with Jesus is supernatural, like finding a miracle at every corner, leading me to praise Him daily. Before I was saved, life was empty, painful and so much worse. I’m so thankful to be in the kingdom of Christ!

  • Cristy

    Hi, Chip, Love this!!! Very comforting!!! I am not into religion that much but I do believe in GOD!!! Through all the struggles and pain I lost my faith and doubt existed!!! There’s something in the seeking that brings me solace, even when I experience doubt. I sincerely prayed and talked to HIM and now I have it back!!! My faith, and trust for HIM!!! Being grateful for every little thing I have!!! Thank you so much for sharing this article!!!

    • Chip Mattis

      Hey, Cristy! Thanks so much for reading. Strangely enough I’m not into religion much either, but I’m a Christian because I have a relationship with Jesus. Religion is about following rules, but now we don’t have to because faith in Jesus reconciles us with God in a way following rules never can. I’m praying that you have a genuine encounter with God. He does that, and it’s all in order to show us how much Jesus loves us to die for us. That’s deep love I could never understand except for experiencing it from God. Thanks for reading and for following 😀

    • Chip Mattis

      Thanks! I agree. There is no greater hope for our future or better retelling of our past. But Now is God’s plan to make us more like Jesus. I don’t live this out perfectly but it gives me hope and peace. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Cristy

    Hi, Chip! My pleasure!!! I am grateful for this article and you as well!!! You are an inspiration and a blessing!!! Take care and have a blessed night!! God bless you invariably!!!

  • susanhomeschooling

    I never saw the words “but now” in such a beautiful light! I love how God gives us a new identity when we put our faith in Christ!

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