When God by His power alone gives a new life in Jesus Christ to a saved sinner, it doesn’t extinguish the former life of the sinner. Rather, it is used by God to further demonstrate His grace and mercy in the witness of that saved sinner.
Our natural desire is to forget that former place, that former life of depravity, but it shouldn’t be removed from our memory. The more you dwell on it, the more you REALIZE the depth of the depravity and the goodness of Jesus Christ! By dwelling, I mean never coming across in your witness as if you never had been depraved.
Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander, is a great example of always being completely honest of who he was and who he is now. He always goes into great detail of the depraved nature he was living to demonstrate that God took him out of that life. And by this, he realizes if this supernatural event never occurred, what his life would be like now, probably without a family, without a successful business, without anything. And then how many would never would have come to Christ based on that witness to the Gospel is also compounded in this.
The rebirth is based on God’s timing to His purpose alone. It was not until 43 years that He granted me a new life and my former life of depravity ended. I personally shake my head when those memories come up in my former life, sinful and wicked things I was doing without a care in the world other than for myself. And in my case, I had thought all along I was a child of God, I clearly wasn’t by the way I lived! In a book I published, I actually spent 9 chapters detailing the couple of very sad years leading up to my rebirth.
How God gives a rebirth is totally of His counsel. He might take everything away from you, or He may not. All will have a different testimony, but all will have the same witness in Jesus Christ. In my case, the bottom dropped out of my life, but that’s not when the rebirth happened. It occurred several months later for reasons only known to God, but that timing was perfect.
So if you are ever being witnessed to by a Christian or want a key in discernment, the simple question to ask is on their former life. Some will have been saved at a young age, but should be able to speak about the stage where they rejected God. Don’t forget your former life, embrace it in your testimony! It serves as a love note from the Great God Almighty, who took you from that wicked nature and placed you in His Son, Jesus Christ!