Summary: You are raised to newness of life, so as John Owen once said, "be killing sin or it will be killing you."
Get A Life!
Text: Ephesians 2:4 – 7
By: Ken McKinley
Someone once said that the English language has more clichés and slogans than any other language, especially the English used in the United States. We use all sorts of catchy phrases to get our point across and sometimes those phrases mean more than what they actually say. Take for example the phrase, “Get a life!” If you say to someone “Get a life!” Probably what you’re saying to that person is that they need to grow up and stop indulging in insignificant, meaningless, thoughts. You don’t actually mean that the person needs to somehow come back from the dead. But in our passage this morning Paul is telling us that believers already have a life. We have been “born again.” But sometimes we as believers can also spend way too much time living a life of fantasy; we can believe the lies of the devil, the world, and even our own flesh. And we chase after those fantasies rather than living the life we already have.
Now last time we looked at the life of delusion that we used to live under when we were without Christ. We heard the bad news, that we were dead in trespasses and sins, but then we heard the good news – that we “got a life,” that God has made us alive in His Son Jesus Christ, so this morning I want us to take a look at what this life is supposed to look like.
So… last time we looked at verses 1 – 5 and we saw that sin and God’s wrath are very real, but Paul also began to shift his focus in verses 4 and 5 and we finished up talking about how we had been made alive together with Christ. So I want to look at 3 aspects of the life we have received, and for each of these aspects Paul uses a different word to give us a picture of what our Christian life is supposed to be about. In verse 5 he says, “We have been made alive.” In verse 6 he says, “God has raised us up,” and also, “we have been seated in Christ Jesus.”
When Paul says we have been made alive, this new life that Jesus gives contains everything that is included in salvation. When we were dead, we were under the condemnation of God’s wrath; we could only look forward to the coming judgment. But now that we are in Christ, and now that we have newness of life, we have forgiveness, regeneration, sanctification, and hope. Now I want you to notice here, “we’ve been made alive,” by grace, “we have been saved,” “we’ve been raised up,” and “we’ve been made to sit.” Do you notice anything about all of these? They are all past tense. These aren’t things that we have to work for, or strive for, they aren’t things we have to earn… we’ve already received these things by God’s grace.
So what does all this mean exactly? How is all of this relevant to you and me? Well for starters; it means we have been given a fresh start. The sins of our past may still haunt us, we may have memories of the bad choices we made, we may even still see the weeds from the seeds of yesterday’s schemes, but the Good News is that the final punishment for those sins has already been paid. Because of God’s grace, we need not suffer the guilt and shame that of our past, because of God’s grace we can walk in newness of life.
Sometimes we can forget that it’s only by grace. Sometimes we get to thinking that the changes in our lives are by our own hard work, and we forget about the state we were in before we were saved.
The Bible tells us that it’s by God’s grace that we’ve been made alive, and it’s by God’s grace that we have been raised up with Christ. Now I want you all to get this, so pay attention. Being raised with Christ means that we should cease from our selfish, sin nature; what that means is that sin no longer has dominion over us. Remember sin used to be our master, but Jesus has redeemed us. That’s why the Bible tells us “Do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies, for you have been bought with a price…”
Does that mean you will stop sinning completely? No, what it means is that by our NEW nature, we no longer have that irresistible pull towards sin. Turn with me to Colossians 3:1-10 (read). See if you’re a Christian then you are in Christ, His death has become your death, and His resurrection has become your resurrection, sin should no longer have dominion over you. So the duty of the Christian is the putting to death of sin… the old time preachers used to call it mortification. We are to put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge. It’s the same thing we read in Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your minds…”