WHAT MY LIFE WAS LIKE BEFORE CHRIST:
1. I was dead
Let me take you back to the question I asked just a few moments ago: Why do we need a Savior? I think that most Christ followers would answer that question something like this: “I have sinned and am guilty before God, so I need a Savior who can forgive my sins and take away the punishment I deserve.” And while that statement is true, it just doesn’t go far enough. What Paul makes really clear in this passage is that without a Savior, we’re not just in God’s dog house – we’re in the morgue.
Many of you know that I really enjoy watching crime dramas like C.S.I. And one of the key characters in all those shows is the coroner, who has to examine the dead bodies to find out how they died and why they ended up in the morgue. Fortunately for us, Paul has done the work of the spiritual coroner and tells us why we ended up in the spiritual morgue:
• Why we’re in the spiritual morgue:
Paul uses two words to describe the behavior that leads to our spiritual death. Although the words are often used as synonyms by Paul and other New Testament writers, they have a slightly different meaning:
o Transgressions = False step
The word translated “transgressions” in the NIV and “trespasses’ in other translations is a word that means to take a false step, go off a path, slip, or fall. As used here it is a picture of us wandering from the right path, whether that occurs as a result of inattention or a deliberate act.
o Sins = Missing the mark
This word comes from an archery term which means missing the mark. As used here it is a picture of us failing to hit the target of God’s standard for our lives. So it includes both sins of commission – doing something in opposition to God’s moral standard – or omission – failing to do something that God has commanded us to do.
The transgressions and sins in our lives do not just make us sick. They are our spiritual cause of death.
So why is it such a big deal that we are dead and not just sick or in God’s dog house? To answer that question, let’s think for just a moment about a couple characteristics of a dead person:
• Characteristics of a dead person:
o Unable to respond
Something that is dead is completely unable to respond to its surroundings or to others in any way.
A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away."
The distressed woman wailed, "Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead," replied the vet.
"How can you be so sure", she protested. "I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something." The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.