Summary: The work of redemption is simple, yet complex, shows the ugliness involved to present the beauty that results.
Once Dead, Now Alive!
When God first created mankind, he created within him an active spirit. This spirit (life) was able to commune with a Holy, righteous God.
God said, “If you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die.” He was speaking to all aspects of mankind. First, man’s body was introduced to death and he began dying physically. Second, if he died in unforgiven guilt of sin, his soul would dwell in eternal death and punishment. Third, and extremely important, that spirit that was able to understand and communicate with God’s Spirit ceased to work.
When police dispatchers are able to talk to police officers in the field by radio, they say they are live. When they cannot be reached, they say they have gone dead. Our spirits went dead with Adam and Eve’s sins and it would take something supernatural to make us alive again.
Eph 2:1-7 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
I. Predicament of Sinners. (1)
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…”. The use of the word “you” is not an accusation but an inclusion. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.
“You were dead in the threspasses…” (paraptoma – I like the word “transgressions” better. The word “progression” means to move in a pro, or positive direction. “Regression” is to move in a re- or backwards direction. Trans means to move in a trans, or counter direction.)
We all move in a direction counter to God’s direction, against His flow. We were “…dead in … sin…” (hamartia – missing the mark.)
Illustration. I am a decent swimmer, or used to be. I have been in West Texas too long and I probably forgot how to swim. However, there are people who can swim far better than I ever could.
Imagine standing on the beach in California, about to enter into a swimming race. We all begin, some fast, some slow. The goal, to swim to Hawaii.
What can you swim, a couple hundred yards? Half-mile? 7 miles?
Arguably, the record for unassisted oceanic swimming is held by Penny Palfrey at 63 miles, requiring 40 hours and 41 minutes, and coming out mostly unrecognizable. Diana Nyad is somewhat questioned in her claims of swimming 103 miles, using a mask to protect her face against jelly fish stings, taking some 53 hours. Officials are doubting her claim to no assistance.
The problem in this race is that Hawaii is 2,467 miles from California. A few rare swimmers might could manage the 67 miles. It’s the 24 hundred that’s the problem. The fate of good swimmers and poor swimmers will be the same. We will all drown.
When mankind tries to live up to God’s standard without a Savior, it doesn’t matter how good we are, we miss the mark by so much, all of us, good and bad, end up dead in our trespasses and sins. We have the power of sin against us.
II. The Power of sin (2b)
“…in which you once walked…”. Again, this is not an accusation, but an inclusion. There are three strikes against us in this passage to keep us from succeeding on our own.
A. The world system – “…following the course of this world”.
If you had nothing else against you, this would be a problem. In the world around us, there is no model of success. So all of our models are broken down here on earth.
Ill. Sociologists and psychologists tell us that the character of a person is fully developed by the time a child reaches 6 years old. The stew of his or her personality, the directing of the parents/guardians, and the modeling of the adult world, teaches a child how to react and survive.
Let’s consider that, …
1. First, fallen personalities.
Our personalities were broken before birth. Psalms 58 reminds us that we come from the womb speaking lies. What a horrible thing to say about an innocent baby?