Summary: God’s love and concern for an undeserving people
2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Getting What We Don’t Deserve
It was the first night of camp, and a group of tough kids from the city had hardly unpacked when the leaders received word about a theft. A work crew kid was missing a wallet, $35, and a watch. The next morning, Kirk, the intern from the city, found the empty wallet in his cabin. He immediately called his guys together and hit them with the hard facts.
“Man, you guys did exactly what society expected you to do. You just proved them right. And it’s a shame. Now you’ve got 20 minutes to produce that money and the watch, or we’re all going home.” Kirk walked out and shut the door. He could hear the guys shouting at one another and scrambling around inside the cabin. In a moment, the door opened again, and the toughest kid in the crowd presented Kirk with the $35 and the watch. The money was already spent, but the kids had emptied their pockets and pooled their cash.
When the staff person came to pick up the stolen goods, someone asked, “Who did it?” Kirk replied, “We all did it. We’re all guilty. We’re in this together.” The kids were shocked by Kirk’s display of solidarity. Then he shut the cabin door and started to preach.
“Let’s talk about grace,” he said to the silent cabin. “Grace is getting something you don’t deserve. God is going to correct you, but he’s going to forgive you. Jesus is going to break you, but he’s going to remake you. We all deserve to go home, but we’re going to get to stay.” It was only the first morning of camp, but God already had the undivided attention of 17 tough guys from the city.
A few nights later, Kirk invited the work crew kid who had been robbed to come to his cabin and to share his own experience of God’s grace with the guys. After the young man left that night, Kirk said, “Now I’m going to say a prayer, and if any of you want to pray with me and give your lives to God, then just do it.” By the end of the prayer, 17 baritone voices had cried out to Jesus Christ.
—Rydberg, Denny. Ministry Letter, October 1999, quoted in Leadership Journal, Spring 2000, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 69.
1. Condition of Man
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
a. Dead in trespasses and sins
Spiritually, man is also deaf. “They have ears to hear, and hear not” (Ezekiel 12:2). Jesus went so far as to say: ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
Spiritually, man is even dead. “Who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
All of this means that the communication between God and man is broken. There is a wonderful world of joy, light, harmony, peace, and satisfaction to which millions of persons are blind and deaf, and even dead.