Ephesians 2:1-5 HCC 10-1-00
This last week a gymnast from Romania was stripped of her Olympic gold medal because she tested positive for a drug that was banned. The team doctor had given her some medicine for her cold. It was a mistake. It was a trespass of the rules. This may have been the only time in her life when she took a banned substance. One time and no matter how well she did in all the stuff, she can not win the Olympic gold medal. When she was striped of the gold medal she did not get the silver or bronze in place of it. She has no medal. We can all feel sorry for her about what happened, but the result is the same as if she deliberately took a drug. The rule was broken and the penalty applied.
Something like this happened another time in history. Actually back at the beginning of history. God gave Adam the rules. Genesis 2:16-17
And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
It wasn't long before Satan in the form of snake approached Eve with the story that it should be okay to eat from that tree. Adam and Eve ate and at that moment passed into spiritual death. The life they had with God. The wonderful promise of the future with God was gone in an instant, because they broke the rule. We may feel sorry for them, but the rule was broken and the penalty applied.
Because Adam and Eve were the representatives of the human race when they sinned they brought down with them any chance of us winning the prize on our own. We are all stripped of the crown. We all suffer from the same spiritual death.
Romans 3:10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 5:12 sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned
Romans 6:23 the wages of sin is death
Are you getting the picture? Adam sinned and as a result the gold medal of life everlasting with God is stripped from him and us. We have a banned substance that inhabits our bodies, minds, and hearts. It is called sin. We have a sin nature and the wages of that is death. Spiritual death in which we are not able to make our way back to God.
We are told more about this in Ephesians 2:1-5
"you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live" v. 3 "All of us also"
Everyone starts with the same condition. When does this happen?
Psalm 51:5 says "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."
As a member of the human race a descendent of Adam, everyone begins dead in sin. That is called original sin. Then there is what is called our actual sins. These are the fresh decisions of a rebellion against God. Some are intentional, some are unintentional. Either way it is sin and rebellion and an evidence that we are dead in sin.
Now when a person is dead they are unable to do much. Things can be done to them - to the body. But they are unable to function, think, reason, choose, or do anything that would move them toward God.
Do you know what a trespass is? This is a word which comes from a basic Greek word which means "to miss your step." If you watched the gymnasts this past week you saw some missed steps as they stepped out of bounds. You saw some of them fall off the balance beam. You saw some of them take extra steps or hops on their landings. They trespassed and as a result their score was not perfect. They had every intention of doing their routine perfectly but they were unable and this was after years and countless repetitions of trying. Think of all the trespasses that occurred before we saw their performance.
Each of us in our lives has trespassed. Sinned against God. Stepped out of bounds and missed our landing. We can't go back and change it. We are dead in sin.
The wrath of God is what we might call "the law of inevitable consequences," the fact that what we do will have consequences. If we make a wrongful decision it will affect us, it will hurt us -- even though we intended it to be right.
If we decide to jump out of an airplane with a parachute that for some reason - some trespass - doesn't open we will suffer the wrath of God. It would be what you'd call jumping to a conclusion!
Whether we mean it or not sin has killed us and we suffer the consequence of spiritual death.
The remedies to our condition that people propose such as education, legislation, a change of environment will rearrange the pattern but will never change the basic problem. That is why humanity struggles endlessly trying to correct itself but never succeeds. We are dead in sin.
But the story doesn't stop there. Look at the first two words of verse 4: BUT GOD.
We are dead in our transgressions and sins: BUT GOD.
We are unresponsive and becoming more and more corrupt: BUT GOD.
Our best efforts result in failures and mistakes: BUT GOD.
We are controlled by the world around us, by evil spiritual forces, by our inner drives and desires: BUT GOD.
We deserve eternal judgment: BUT GOD
But God! - because of His great love for us.
Deliverance is by love. God is merciful because of His great love for us. If we got what we deserved from God, we would be in a tremendous amount of trouble. God is motivated not by what we deserve, but by the richness of His love. He reaches out to sinful, godless, perverted, unworthy, unholy, repulsive, depraved human beings, engulfed by sins and trespasses, in the service of Satan, and because of His love for them transforms them. Through his grace he breathes into us new life. That is what we will be looking at in a couple of weeks.