Are you alive?
The first seven verses of Ephesians 2 are made up of two sentences. The first sentence is a morbid description of being spiritually dead, and the second sentence proclaims the hope that we have in the power of God to raise us up with Christ to new life.
Paul begins by very direct statement in verse 1, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”
We are all sinners and have a desperate heart condition as we see in Romans 5:12.
But we often hear the statement, “aren’t we all basically good?”
The Bible makes it clear that fallen human beings are not morally good. Some are able to make good moral choices and actions, but all too often these choices are motivated by our selfish condition and pride. Apart from Christ, we are spiritually dead.
In Luke 15 we read of the parable of the prodigal son. Remember what the father said when his son came back home, “this son of mine was dead, and is alive again”. That is the normal human condition.
As people, we are all followers; as Christians, we are followers of Jesus.
If we are not following Jesus, we are following the influences of the sinful world or we are following Satan himself.
Satan has been displaced from heaven, and he works his evil schemes on the earth influencing people to do horrific things. This does not mean people are necessarily demon possessed; but living in sin is the mark of following Satan’s evil schemes. Paul calls these “passions of the flesh” in verse 3. These sins are not only sins of action, they are also sins of thought. Sin is conceived in the mind and the heart of man (see Jeremiah 17:9).
The problem with the sickness of sin is that we are so accustomed to sinful thoughts that we don’t even know we are sick. Our culture encourages selfish pride and we have no idea how desperately sinful we are in our human nature. Humanism in our culture tells us that people are basically good, but the Bible makes it clear that every inclination of the human heart is to rebel against God.
Even the good things that we do, our attempts at righteousness are utterly hopeless before the all-holy God.
God is holy, and pure, He must be true to His character and cannot overlook any sin.
What Paul is describing here is what is called the doctrine of total depravity. We are desperately ill and are unable to even reach out to God apart from His grace. The truth is that in our human nature, we do not want to reach out to God, He reaches out to us.
The good news is that God poured out His wrath on Jesus as we remembered last weekend. Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath and we get to drink from the fountain of the grace of God.
Paul uses the first sentence of chapter 2 to paint an awful picture. It is horrifying to dwell on the depravity of mankind. But the reason he does this is because it makes the good news so amazingly beautiful.
If we stopped today at verse 3, we would be all despairing. Thankfully Paul begins verse 4 with two incredible words of hope; “But God…”.
We were hopeless, lifeless and under condemnation, but God came to our rescue. We cannot fully understand the grace of God if we don’t understand His justice.
Romans 5:8 states this so clearly. “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the ultimate display of God’s mercy, love and grace.
Verse 5 is the key to the passage; we were dead before becoming followers of Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit in our lives. We were dead, but now we are alive “with Christ”
Becoming a Christian is not about becoming a nicer person, or a better-behaved person, you don’t become a Christian by adopting a set of religious activities or rituals. Becoming a Christian, means becoming alive in Christ; moving from death to life.
In John 3 we meet Nicodemus, he knew a lot of theology and did a lot of good things in the eyes of the establishment. But Jesus said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Ephesians 1:6 continues the good news, “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The Greek verb used for “seated us with him” is the word that we get the word synchronize from. Paul uses this word to show that “in Christ” we are synchronized with him. When we pray, Jesus advocating for us, Jesus is our Great High Priest.
Being seated with Christ, does not mean that we are divine, but we have access to power in order to resist the devil and his schemes. Seated with Christ is our positional salvation, we are in Christ.
The struggle with many Christians is that we don’t know our identity, so we continue to wallow in sin, fighting against Satan in our own strength.
The reason for all this grace and mercy is found in verse 7, it is for His glory.
God is showing off His grace and kindness to us for all the universe to see. The purpose of our salvation is the eternal purpose of God, that He is to be glorified and worshipped for eternity.
God pours out His immeasurable riches of grace and kindness on us. There is no quantifying the power of God, and there is no quantifying the kindness of God. Because we are in Christ, God the Father lavishes his love on us. We come as children to a loving Father with an open hand, because we are alive in Christ.
Are you experiencing life, being alive in Christ?
God’s grace and kindness is available to you today to become fully alive.