Everything is Different

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Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your

heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away the judgments

against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in

your midst; you shall never again fear evil. 16 On that day it shall be said to

Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17 The Lord your

God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with

gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

(Zephaniah 3:14–17)

If you are in Christ, the God of the universe sings over you. He sings loudly and lovingly
over you as a proud, faithful, and very happy Father. If we know who God really is, and
if we’re honest about who we really are, that should be absolutely stunning. Because of
our sin, we do not deserve to be spared by God, much less to be loved and even prized by

We’ll never truly understand God and the gospel until we understand just how little we
deserve from God. Before we were saved, we were enemies of God, earning his awful,
unthinkable wrath with our sin. Every day that we lived for ourselves, and not for God,
we were falling deeper and deeper into a debt we could never repay. Though we didn’t
yet know how serious the situation was, we were thoroughly and eternally helpless and
desperate. There was nothing we could do to remedy our rebellion, and so we were
headed for hell, a place of everlasting, excruciating punishment.

Now, based on nothing we did on our own, God is singing over us. Instead of spending
eternity crushed by his wrath, we’ll be forever wrapped in his loving kindness.

And because he is singing over you, everything is different. It has to be.


Before, you were dead — no life in you at all. Sin had robbed you of abundant life with
God, and left you alienated and hopeless (Ephesians 2:12).

Before, you were a slave to your sinful desires and the lies of your own heart (Romans
6:6). Sin reigned in you to make you submit to selfish desires, pitting you against God
and his love for you (Romans 6:12).

Before, you were aggressively and recklessly trying to find life and happiness in the
things of this world. When the fountain of living water surrounded you — God revealing
himself in all of his creation — you chose the things he had made over God himself. You
passed on the life-giving fountain and joined with us all as we “hewed out cisterns for
ourselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). And you were thirsty
— agonizingly, exhaustingly, helplessly thirsty.

Before, you couldn’t see Jesus for who he is, God himself — Lord, Savior, and Treasure.
You were like the crowds that came to Jesus looking for a good show (John 2:23–25), or
the disciples who came to the Bread of life worried about bread (John 6:9), or the
Pharisees who missed Jesus because they were looking for power, fame, and influence
(John 11:47–48).

Then, everything was different. Jesus came into your life — alive and real and
compelling — and everything about you changed. You could never be the same person


Now, the spiritual Lazarus you used to be, laying dead in your sin, has been called from
your tomb. You are alive, as alive as the risen Jesus (Ephesians 2:5).

Now, you are no longer a slave to sin, to serve its destructive desires and hold on your
life. You are completely, utterly, and eternally free (Galatians 5:1). The Spirit inside of
you is fighting with you against sin’s lies and undoing the hold it has in your heart. But
the war is over. Sin has lost, and Christ has won. When he walked away from death and
ascended into heaven, his life, righteousness, and freedom became yours.

Now, you have full, lasting, and unshakeable joy. In God’s presence, ransomed by the
blood of his Son, you experience “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm
16:11). Lots of things promise happiness in this life, but nothing can deliver like the
gospel. You were formed by God in your mother’s womb to enjoy him above all else.

Now, you see Jesus for all that he is. “He is the radiance of the glory of God,” (Hebrews
1:3) not reflecting, but actually embodying the holiness and worth of God. He upholds
and sustains the universe with words from his mouth (Hebrews 1: 3). And he is the
Savior of the whole world — people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation
(Revelation 5:9). He’s not just a good role-model, or a miracle-worker, or a wise teacher.
He is the God who was and is and is to come. And he is your life.

Now, our God rejoices over us with singing. In Christ, everything is different!