By Stuart Powell
The term has-been is a demeaning way to describe the diminished status of once-popular personalities—athletes who can no longer compete, actresses who have not aged well, singers whose vocal ranges shrank with their fan base. A has-been’scurrent status is a dim shadow of what it once was.
As Christians, maybe we should consider becoming a has-been as a liberation rather than a demotion. Compare the “glory days” of our life prior to knowing Christ with the abundant life of our present faith. Would we willingly adopt the term has-been to become more like Jesus?
In 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, Paul described the sinfulness of many popular people in that culture (though his descriptions are also apt for people in our culture): sexually immoral, greedy, and drunkards. Then Paul directly addressed the believers listening to his message: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Paul clearly stated that the church in Corinth was made up of has-beens. The same is true of the kingdom of God today. Each of us has been involved in some kind of selfish living. Then we came in contact with the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and that early phase of our life came to an end. Those has-been priorities and passions have been driven out of our hearts by the righteousness of Jesus. There is no room in our lives for the competing loyalties of godlessness and righteousness.
When we come around the Lord’s table, it is a time to remember our past lives, so we can cherish the liberty into which God has brought us. We need to remember the demonstration of God’s grace working in us, for through God’s grace every Christian is righteous in his sight. But especially, we need to focus on Jesus’ death. His sacrificial blood is what transforms us from has-been sinners into saints of God. We mustn’t forget the immeasurable love that sent Jesus to the cross to make us righteous in God’s sight.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.