But we still remember her as "the adulterous woman".
David was a man after God's own heart, but we also remember him an adulterer and a murderer.
What if we viewed Paul the same way? What if he was still called "Pharisee of Pharisees" and "the man who persecutes the church"?
In fact, Paul said it himself, "They only were hearing it said, 'He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.'" (Galatians 1:23)
He claimed his past in that statement. He named what he used to do, and he named what he is currently doing, about which he wrote, "And they glorified God because of me."
We should not look back on someone's past for any reason except to glorify God for the work He has done in them to get to their present!
In the book The Good and Beautiful God, the author writes about how Christians are "new creations":
"You know how a butterfly becomes a butterfly, I'm sure. ... The butterfly was
once a caterpillar, a worm. It could only crawl, and could not fly. But it goes
into a cocoon--a chrysalis, in which the root word, appropriately, is 'Christ'.
And it emerges a butterfly, completely transformed. The old has passed. The
new has arrived. It was once weighed down by gravity; now it can fly.
Christians were once under the reign of sin, but now we can live in freedom.
And can you see why it's so painful to me that so many Christians don't understand
this? When I hear a Christian say, 'I'm just a sinner saved by grace,' I want to say,
'That makes as much sense as a butterfly saying, 'I'm just a worm with wings.'"
In this day and age, it will be hard to keep the faith. When the world wants to call you by your past, it will be harder to remember who God says you are!
For more on butterflies, read this post. But in the meantime, when you hear the world (or the church) telling you who you are, according to your past, remember these things:
You are adopted as sons.
"He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of his will" (Ephesians 1:5)
You are loved.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
You are forgiven.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Ephesians 1:7)
You are a new creation.
"If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has
passed away; see, everything has become new!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are blameless.
"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for
those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed
our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so
the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." (Psalm 103:11-13)
Have faith in what He says...and remember who you are.