Focal Passage: Ephesians 2:1-10
“We will be spending tomorrow at Paw-Paw’s funeral.”
I was a small child, my birthday was the following day, and I had no idea what a funeral was. My first encounter with death made no sense. Why would my great-grandfather want me to spend my birthday at a funeral? I couldn’t understand the inescapability and finality of death. As I sat in the service, I realized, my great-grandfather simply died. He couldn’t stop or prevent this moment. Worse, he couldn’t bring life back to his lifeless body.
A dead man’s greatest problem is that he is dead. What can a dead man do to solve his greatest problem? Nothing. Paul reminds us in Ephesians that in our sin we are spiritually dead, but physically animated. That we, by our nature, are sons and daughters of disobedience and wrath. None of this is good news – yet.
So, what is the answer to our greatest problem? God Himself! God acts on behalf of sinners, the spiritually dead, through Christ to “make us alive.”
The idea of Christ making us alive, rescuing us from spiritual death, is profound. I once heard a pastor say it this way: We are dead, and we are laying at the bottom of the sea of God’s wrath against sin. It’s not that we are adrift on the sea and we need someone to throw us a lifeline. We are dead on the sea floor. Jesus doesn’t merely throw us a lifeline, he dives into the sea of God’s wrath, scoops up our lifeless bodies, takes us to the shores of life, and gives us His life. He literally makes us alive.
God does all of this, not because of what we do, but because of Who He is. He saves us and gives us life by grace alone, that we receive by faith alone, through the finished work of Christ alone. Then, God acts upon the plan he set into motion in eternity past, that we would do good works (Ephesians 2:10). We are not saved by good works, because dead men have no good works, but for, or to good works.
Spiritual death is the present reality for every human being. Physical death is the future inevitability for you, me and everyone we know. Thankfully there is a cure for both: grace.