God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23, NRSV)
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23, KJV)
Talk about a transformation. Jesus went from poor, crucified peasant to ruling all of Creation. That's pretty good work right there.
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7, NRSV)
God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7, KJV)
But Jesus isn't the only one going through a transformation. Christians are, too. Before Jesus, people were steeped in sin. Jesus' coming changed all that.
In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:5-6, NRSV)
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel. (Ephesians 3:5-6, KJV)
Check it our: everyone's changing. Gentiles were definitely not in God's good books before, but now they're God's chosen people. All it took was a little Savior power, apparently.
Surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:21-24, NRSV)
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:21-24, KJV)
Before they knew about Jesus, these Gentiles were immoral jerks. Now they know better. Their knowledge of Jesus has transformed them into better people. With way nicer clothes!
Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true […] Therefore it says, "Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians 5:8-9, 14, NRSV)
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light […] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Ephesians 5:8-9, 14, KJV)
You know the drill. These guys were in the dark and then it was like someone turned on a flashlight when they found out about Jesus. It's like they've woken up and come alive after being in the dark clutches of death.
You who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. (Colossians 1:21-23, NRSV)
You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven. (Colossians 1:21-23, KJV)
Sure, you might have been evil before, but Jesus' death has washed all that away. The slate is wiped clean and the sinner is turned into the saved. Neat trick!
In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:11-14, NRSV)
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. (Colossians 2:11-14, KJV)
God's making a lot of changes here. First, he's welcoming uncircumcised Gentiles into the fold. They're circumcised in their hearts. Then, he's getting rid of all the old laws that he was so big about people following in the Hebrew Bible.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations? (Colossians 2:20, NRSV)
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances. (Colossians 2:20, KJV)
So if the laws are done and over with, why are Christians still worrying about them? What part of transformation did they not understand?
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3, NRSV)
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3, KJV)
Note the key word here is "if." If Christians really believe in Jesus, they'll be transformed into totally new and awesome people. Nothing less will do.
These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things. (Colossians 3:7-8, NRSV)
In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these. (Colossians 3:7-8, KJV)
Old life vs. new life. Now that these Gentiles are Christians, they need to turn over a new leaf. Sure, pagan parties are fun. No one ever said change was easy.