September 14, 2010 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins...But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." Ephesians 2:1, 4-5
Before you start reading, I'd like for you to make a list. With a pen and piece of paper, write at the top: "Things Dead People Do." Take a minute to list out all the activities that can be accomplished by dead folks, and then let’s reconvene...
Good to see you back so quickly. If your list was longer than 0, you might want to stop watching The Sixth Sense so much, because the truth is, dead people don't do ANYTHING. It's in the very nature of being dead. Beyond decomposing, the dead really do astoundingly little. They don't read or write or think or pray or eat or drink or... you get the picture, right?
Now, do you suppose that the Apostle Paul might have been trying to tell us something when he wrote to the Ephesians that formerly they were "dead in your trespasses and sins?" If you're Paul, and you could choose any word in the entire world to describe what it is like to be an unsaved soul, why choose the word "dead?" I think it’s because he wants his readers to make that analogous leap and think through its implications. Let me explain.
God gets the most glory when we get the least credit. Remember the story of Gideon? Gideon was about to lead the army of Israel into battle against the Midianites. He had 32,000 soldiers at his disposal for the battle. But God knew something about Israel's heart: "The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful saying, 'My own power has delivered me''" (Judges 7:2). God whittles Gideon's numbers down to a meager 300 men. The story ends, consequently, with God giving victory to Israel in battle as they completely defeat the Midianites. What is the point? God looks that much more amazing, merciful and powerful when He gets full responsibility for the good things that happen to us.
If that be the case, I think we can all agree that the greatest good thing that has happened to us in our own life is our salvation: God becoming man to die on a cross "to purchase for himself a people for His own possession" (Titus 2:14). If ever there was an act of God that could make Him look ultimately glorious, it is the act of redemption. And, true to form, God allows Himself the complete credit for it. Remember that verse in Ephesians? "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins...". We were completely dead before Christ. Spiritually speaking, we didn't even have 300 men. We had zero. We could no more save ourselves than a dead man could get out of his coffin on his own.
Here's the beauty of the story. Just three verses later in chapter 2 Paul writes this: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)" (Ephesians 2:4-5). Even when we were dead Christ saved us!
In my song, "Grace Amazing," that is exactly what I'm singing about. We will never truly appreciate what Jesus accomplished in our salvation until we realize how desperate our situation was. Please take the time today to admire your Lord. Let the implications of these truths land on you, and allow them to stir your heart's affection for the One who raised our dead souls to life!