Summary: Paul describes the spiritual blessings Christians have in Christ. He prays that Christians would realize the lofty position to which they have been called. He describes the absolute reign of Christ & His triumph over the would-be powers of the age.
In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the allegory/novel, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same man, but one character is good & the other is evil
Acting on the theory that it was possible to separate his character into good & evil, Dr. Jekyll created a potion that could change a man into an embodiment of his evil side, thereby also making pure his good side. After using the potion on himself, Jekyll became physically smaller as his evil nature became predominant; this persona was called Edward Hyde.
The potion had not worked as planned, in that the outer shape-changing was successful, but the identity of Jekyll remained unchanged while adding an alternate character who was purely evil. After a few trial runs as Hyde, Jekyll soon began to undergo the change regularly in order to indulge in all the forbidden pleasures that he would never have otherwise committed
However, the Hyde aspect himself began to grow strong beyond Jekyll’s ability to control it with a counter-potion. Eventually, Jekyll wakes up in bed one day to discover that he has turned into Hyde overnight. He resolves to give up Hyde for good, but the allure proves too strong to resist, and after two months he takes the potion once more.
This time, Hyde does not just indulge himself; he commits murder, and can no longer be seen in public for fear of being recognised and sent to the gallows.
- Stevenson was well aware of the nature of man
- That he has two sides to him
- On the one hand, he has enormous capacity to do good, appreciate & preserve beauty, but on the other hand, something selfish, evil & sinister lurks beneath the surface
- In this passage today, it will be tempting for you to understand man’s nature as either all of good, or all of evil & that is the issue being discussed
- To do that, will be misunderstand the core of this teaching
- After describing the spiritual blessings Christians have in Christ
- After praying that Christians would realise the lofty position to which they have been called
- After describing the absolute reign of Christ & His triumph over the would-be powers of the cosmos
- He then reflects on the contrast between man’s ability to save himself & God’s ability to save - these are the issues
1. Man’s Ability to Save
1. We were Dead (v.1)
- One thing you notice about the dead - they are unresponsive
John MacArthur speaks in his commentary about a boy who ran into his office one day screaming “come quickly”, “come quickly”. He went with the boy into his home around the corner & their was an infant laying on the bed lifeless with his mother calling for him to wake up. He quickly called the ambulance while he tried to revive the infant. The ambulance came & tried CPR but it was soon evident that the infant was dead
- People who are dead can no longer respond & no matter how much yelling & how much CPR was carried out, the little child could not respond
- In the story of the Prodigal son, we have in this parable a young man who was unresponsive to his father’s will
- He left his father after receiving his share of his inheritance & squandered it in wild & loose living
- When a famine hit & he realized his predicament - that he was penniless - he humbled himself & returned to his father
- Rather than sending him away for being a fool, he welcomed him home
- Listen to the way Jesus told this parable...
Lk 15:22-24 .. 22 “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.
- The man’s son was unresponsive to his father’s will but has now returned willing to honour & obey his fathers wishes
- Paul says that our former state before God was that we were dead, in unresponsiveness to God because of our trespasses & sins
- That men were so caught up in sinful desires, they had no time nor desire for God - in fact, they went in the opposite direction
- On their own, people have no ability to attain or maintain a right relationship with God - they are dead to God - inept