Made Alive By Grace
This passage gives us one of the clearest pictures of what Christ does for us in the gospel. This is one of the foundational passages in understanding both the depth of our wickedness and the richness of God's love. It is a passage like this that should make us sing:
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." ~John Newton
When we think of sin (especially our own sin), many of us tend to downplay it with language like, "a mistake," "this week I stumbled," "I do some bad things at times," etc. We may even call sin a "sickness" or "rebellion." While these things are true of sin, the Lord tells us in Ephesians 2 that the problem is even deeper than that. Sin is actually spiritual death. Verses 1-2 state it like this: "And you were dead (emphasis added) in the trespasses and sins 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..." This is not talking about something we do. This is talking about a condition. Without Christ, we were not just people who did bad things. We were actually spiritually dead. Breathing oxygen but without any true life.
This is true of the human race as a whole. Verse 3 states it like this: "...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." That doesn't leave out any of us! We are not naturally born as "good" people who over time become immoral. We are born as dead sinners who need the life that only Christ can give us.
Then verse 4 introduces possibly the most important conjunction ever written: "But God..." In our deadness, God steps in and sends His Son, Jesus, to die in our place. This was out of the richness of His mercy. Verse 4 says that God "made us alive together with Christ." Most of us do not have a "crazy" testimony. We have all heard the testimonies of someone who was saved out of a life of drugs or sexual addictions or prison. Those are amazing testimonies to the grace of God. But many of us came to know Christ at a young age (myself included). But the spiritual reality is still the same: we once were dead in sin, but by God's grace have been made alive in Christ.
Verses 8-9 tell us: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." It is only by the grace of God that we have been saved. We cannot earn it. We don't deserve it. We just simply trust in the completed work of Christ. We trust that His death and resurrection in our place, satisfying the wrath of God, is enough. That is unfathomable grace when we think about our sin.
For those who have never trusted Christ, this passage serves as a beautiful call to repent of sins and place your trust in Jesus. He is ready to shower you with the "immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness." For those of us who have been following Jesus for a long time, this passage serves as a needed reminder of the spiritual reality that is ours in Christ. And it serves as a call to simply worship Jesus. It serves as motivation to do good works, not to earn salvation, but in response to the salvation that has been given to us (more on that next week in verse 10).
Machias Valley Baptist Church, may we worship Jesus this week for the "great love with which he loved us." May we see His goodness and grace, and respond by boasting in Him alone.