Summary: Without Christ fallen man is lost and without hope - dead in transgression and sin.
Dakota Community Church
January 16, 2011
Awake for the First Time
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Chapter two begins with a reminder of the gospel and as is so often the case Paul does not reveal the good news until he has made clear the bad news.
In order that they might be awakened Paul shakes them by expounding on the horrible condition of man unless Christ intervenes. This is a pattern we see repeated in Paul’s writing.
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is 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. 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
We have come to believe a horrible lie in this generation.
We believe that men are inherently good.
We believe that our hearts are mostly well intended and that with a little education and hard work we can become the cure that ails humanity.
I often hear Gandhi quoted in Christian pulpits: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” - As though this were possible.
We can save ourselves, we can fix the problem; after all we are in the “Imago Dei” aren’t we?
The truth is we were created in the image of God but that is not the current state of humanity.
The fact is scripture reveals a very different story:
1. Dead in transgression and sin
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…
…made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…
Paul is saying here that we are not just in a little bit of trouble because of the bad things we have done.
We did not “slip up” just a tad. We didn’t have a little accident and now we need some relief from the guilt and some teaching about how to avoid this in the future WE WERE DEAD in sin.
Not only that but verse 3 says we sin “by nature”; this isn’t just an unfortunate occasional embarrassing mishap – this comes from the very core of who we are.
We bring the wrath of God upon ourselves by our very nature.
Verse 2 ends with the phrase “sons or children of disobedience” in the ESV, ASV, and the KJV which indicates that this is a family trait.
Rebellion against God is a family condition, it is in our DNA.
So how does all of this align with death?
It seems like we are very much alive – sinning, rebelling, being disobedient.
Being alive to rebellion; means being dead to submission.
Being alive to disobedience; means being dead to obedience.
Being alive to sin; means being dead to righteousness.
Being alive to unbelief; means being dead to faith.
Being alive to conformity; means being dead to holiness.
Being alive to selfishness; means being dead to the Glory of God.