Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Spiritual State of All Believers

We said in our last time together that all unbelievers are in a state of spiritual deadness; dead in trespasses and sins. As we looked at this truth in Ephesians chapter 2 we saw in the first three verses what we were before Christ. Remember we said that chapter 2 is still a running thought that Paul had begun in chapter 1, verse 15. Paul is praying that the Ephesian believers would know “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heavenly places” (vv.19-20). Paul says this “mighty power which...raised [Christ] from the dead” (v.20), is the same power that raises believers from spiritual death.

In verses 1-3 of chapter 2 Paul paints a graphic picture of what we were before God raised us up from spiritual death. He says we “were dead in trespasses and sins” (v.1), living according to the world and Satan (v.2), and living according to the flesh (v.3). In other words, as Charles Spurgeon says, “We were full of vigour towards everything which was contrary to the law or the holiness of God, we walked according the course of this world; but as for anything spiritual, we were not only somewhat incapable, and somewhat weakened; but we were actually and absolutely dead. We had no sense with which to comprehend spiritual things. We had neither the eye that could see, nor the ear that could hear, nor the power that could feel” (From the sermon, “Life from the Dead” preach on March 13, 1890). We were dead! But something happened in verse 4. It says, “But God.” Those words...form one of the most significant, eloquent, and inspiring transitions in all literature. They indicate that a stupendous change has taken place. It is a change from the doom and despair of the valley of death to the unspeakable delights of the kingdom of the Son of God’s love” (Believer’s Bible Commentary). “These two words, in and of themselves, in a sense contain the whole of the gospel. The gospel tells of what God has done, God’s intervention; it is something that comes entirely from outside us and displays to us that wondrous and amazing and astonishing work of God” (D. Martyn-Lloyd Jones, God’s Way of Reconciliation: Ephesians 2, p.59). John Calvin describes that work as “God [delivering] the Ephesians from the destruction to which they were formerly liable” (Calvin’s Commentaries: Ephesians). Notice in verses 4-10 what God did in spiritually raising us from the dead. First, He made us alive. That phrase comes from the Greek word suzoopoieo, which means, “to cause to live, to give life.” Colossians 2:13 says “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” This is what He did first. Second Paul says God “raised us up together” (Eph.2:6). This means that just as Christ was raised physically from the dead, we were raised spiritually. Third, He seated us together with Christ in the heavens (vv.6b-7) as exalted sons and daughters with Christ. All this He did by His grace (vv.9-10) because we are His workmanship (v.10).

Have you praised God for His marvelous work of salvation? He made you alive, by raising you from the dead and made you to sit together with Christ in the heavenlies “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph.2:7). Let’s praise Him today for what He has done!

No comments: