Summary: Because of my identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, I can see myself differently - from a new perspective.
In our passage for today, we find Paul emphasizing God’s GRACE. He mentions God’s GRACE in verse 5, verse 7, and verse 8. My favorite definition of GRACE is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense - all that God can now provide for us because of the payment Christ made for us.
Part of the significance of our Lord’s resurrection is that every believer is identified with the victory our He won through His crucifixion and resurrection. As we said last time, because of our Lord’s resurrection, I can live as a new person. Now today, I want us to see how the key to living as a new person is seeing ourselves in light of the GRACE of God. Notice what Paul says about how we need to see ourselves.
1. Where I was before Christ – vs. 1-3
A. I was spiritually dead - v. 1
Paul describes the depth of death we were in without Christ with two words - “transgressions” and “sin.” To transgress means to violate the rules, to break the law. Apart from Christ, we did everything wrong. “Sin” literally refers to an archer who doesn’t have enough strength to have his arrow reach the target. His aim may be correct, but he never hits the target. Apart from Christ, we couldn’t get anything right.
B. I was satanically led - vs. 2-3
1) Through the influence of culture - v. 2
Through the influence of this world, Satan orchestrates opportunities for human beings to continue down the path of transgression and sin.
2) To inevitable condemnation - v. 3
The inevitable result of living under Satan’s influence is not only a captivity to transgression and sin but spending eternity with him paying the penalty for rebellion against God. Matthew 25:41 says that eternal fire was “prepared for the devil and his angels,” not human beings.
Christ came to deliver us from having to pay the penalty for our own sin by paying it for the entire human race. As we mentioned last time, as a man, Jesus did what perfect man alone had to do - pay sin’s penalty representively. For it was humanity that stood condemned. As God, He did what God alone could do - pay sin’s penalty completely. These two things are what make the provision of the cross Good News!
Unfortunately, though provision has been made for people to escape the inevitability of having the pay the penalty for their own sins, if they persist in not appropriating the payment of Christ at Calvary, they sentence themselves to eternal condemnation. So the old saying is true, “God doesn’t send anyone to hell, they send themselves.”
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” - John 3:18 (NIV)
“I encountered a truck this week which had some good theology written on its tailgate. It was a dump truck, belonging to a demolition company. The first sign was written in large letters, and it read: ‘We Could Wreck The World.’ The second sign was on the bottom of the tailgate, written in smaller letters. It read: ‘Jesus Saves.’
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Did the owner of the truck intend for these two signs to be read and understood separately, or were they meant to be understood together? The lettering on that truck expressed some mighty good theology. I don’t know how one could some up the
contrast between men and God more concisely. Men could wreck the world, and only Jesus can save it.” - Bob Deffinbaugh
Led by Satan, humanity has made a wreak of this world, and is heading toward eternal condemnation. One day, Jesus will come to make all things new, removing from this world, sin, Satan, and Satan’s people.
But if we have turned to and trusted in Him as our Savior, when He returns, we will share in His work of restoring this world to its former glory. But not only will be participate with Him in restoring His glory to all of creation one day, but we can participate with Him in living lives that bring Him glory today. And the key to doing that is seeing:
2. Where I am in Christ – vs. 4-6
A. I am spiritually alive in Christ - vs. 4-5
This reminds us of what Paul tells us in Romans 5:8:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8 (NIV)
B. I am supremely victorious in Christ - v. 6
Jesus not only provided victory over sin’s penalty, but sin’s power. I can resist temptation, I can overcome sin’s hold in my life, by virtue of my identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.