Summary: We were dead. He made us alive. That’s regeneration. (#16 in the ’Every Spiritual Blessing’ series)
Pastor Darrin Hunt, of Susquehanna Valley Bible Church in Selinsgrove, PA,
tells a story about three buddies who were discussing death, and one of them asked the group; ‘What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?’
His own answer was, “He was a great humanitarian, who cared about his community.”
The second said, “He was a great husband and father, who was an example for many to follow.”
The third said, “Look, he’s moving!”
People want to go to Heaven; they just don’t want to have to die to get there.
Several years ago a movie came out called “Death Becomes Her”. I don’t recommend it. It was dark humor at best, but the few funny parts weren’t worth the cost of the movie rental; much less, a theatre ticket.
But the basic premise of the movie turns out to be a great illustration of the condition of all mankind outside of Christ.
Briefly as I can make it: two very vain women want to stay looking young forever. So they accept a potion from some mysterious voodoo-type woman, and drink it.
What the woman doesn’t tell them, is that when they die their bodies will stay animated, although they will then begin to decay.
Obviously, early in the movie both women meet an early ‘demise’. After that, no matter what happens to them they stay animated (‘alive’, if you will), but the damage done to their bodies by falling down stairs, or getting shot, or whatever, stays. As the movie progresses they are using more and more makeup to cover their decay ~ reattaching limbs with glue, or whatever,...not dying, but forever dead.
Like I said, the movie is supposed to be a comedy. But don’t laugh.
Because in reality, this is all of mankind in the eyes of God. And if we as Christians would look at the world through the eyes of God, then our hearts should be clenched by a Godly sadness, as we witness a world of people, frantically striving to preserve by artificial means that which is already dead.
WE WERE DEAD
Last week I said in reference to verse 1 of this chapter, that one of Satan’s most clever ways of keeping souls from the kingdom of Heaven, is by blinding them to the fact that they have a condition that separated them from God; a condition that must be dealt with by the Life-giver Himself.
That condition is death. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins...” and it is very clear that Paul wasn’t only addressing some select group of guilty people here. He is talking about an affliction that affects all of mankind. There can be no denying that.
Right here in these early verses of chapter two he makes reference to the ‘sons of disobedience’, and goes on to say “Among them we too ALL formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh...”
Now I’d like to point out to you that again, Paul is not just talking about really bad and nasty people. He said ‘all’; what’s more, he said ‘we all’. And this, from someone who was unarguably a very upstanding, righteous, religious man before he came to Christ.
But he says “we all”.
You know, I think this is generally a very difficult concept for us to grasp. We may ascent to it and even understand it on some shallow, surface level, but at the end of the day, we just don’t get it.
I’d wager that none of us here remembers being dead.
But the inerrant, unchanging truth of God’s eternal word is, that we were dead. Christian, you were dead. The Holy Spirit says so in Ephesians 2:1 and again in 2:5
So I want to take just a few minutes and let the scriptures draw us a picture of what God is seeing, when He looks at the unsaved person.
Go to Romans chapter 3 for a moment, a let’s just pan down through these verses from 10 through 18.
See some descriptive words and phrases here. “None righteous”. “None who understands”. So we were not good in any way; and we were ignorant. No understanding. No comprehension of the facts of our condition or what to do about it. We were, in the words of James, “like unreasoning animals”.
Let’s go on. Look at verse 12. “useless”. That’s a pretty discouraging word, isn’t it; when applied to ourselves?
In a world and a time when the psychology of the world is that we all need affirmation and encouragement; we all need to be told we’re really alright, and “I’m ok, you’re ok”, and no one is really wrong...we’re just different and we should accept one another’s differences and live in peace and harmony...
God says without Christ we’re useless. Wasted. Totaled.