How terribly to often to we loose sight of how powerful a transformation the gospel has made in our lives?
I’m beginning to think the 4 AM hour is one for writing because I find it to be the hour I awake often times and wrestle over things in my mind. Right now I’m reflecting over the gospel message we proclaim every night at Kure Beach. What my pastor said earlier when we were talking about the weightiness of the gospel, “You were dead. What does that mean?” He knows what it means, but simply meant to present the question in determining your soteriology.
I’ve started another book by Spurgeon about the relationship between the believer and the saint. The first chapter is a reflection or meditation if you will of Isaiah 53:3, “We esteemed him not”
None is righteous, no, not one’ no one understands; no one seeks for God’ All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom 3:10-18)
Spurgeon wrote of sin saying:
Sin is a madness, disqualifying the mind for sober judgement; a blindness, rendering the soul incapable of appreciating moral beauty; it is in fact such a perversion of all the faculties, that under its terrible influence men will ‘call evil good, and good evil; they will put darkness for light, and light for darkness; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter’. To us in our fallen condition fiends often appear more fair than angels, we mistake the gates of hell for the portals of bliss, and prefer the garnished lies of Satan to the eternal varities of the Most High.
O sin, what hast thou done! Or rather, what hast thou undone! Yea, O monster, thou hast become a murderer, for thou hast made us dead in trespasses and sins!
That is where I am right now stirring over Ephesians 2:1-10.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked
Dead! No sick in sin, not half way dead! But dead!
Spurgeon continues writing on this verse, “This last word opens up the entire mystery; for if we are spiritually dead, it is of course impossible for us to know and reverence the Prince of glory. Can the dead be moved to ecstasies, or corpses excited to rapture? Exercise your skill on yonder lifeless body. It has not yet become a carnival for worms. The frame is still complete, though lifeless. Bring hither lute and harp; let melodies most sweet, and harmonies unequaled, attempt to move the man to pleasure: he smileth not at the swelling strain, he weepth not at the plaintive cadence; yea, could the orchestra of the redeemed pour forth their music, he would be deaf to the celestial charm.”
We are so far away from understanding the glory of God apart from his son Jesus. The best of our best attempts to be righteous, filthy rags.
The result of our deadness in sin is servitude. Sound odd? Read with me as Paul continues:
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–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.
Paul is writing to these Ephesians who are faithful saints in Christ Jesus and reminding them of the grace of God. The “in which you once walked” is the case for all of us who are in the Lord Jesus. But Paul is giving us a reminder of who we were, and what we are apart from Christ.
We were following the course of this world, not the course of God. Seeking the glory of God is nowhere to be found in the mind. Servitude belongs to the prince of the power of the air, not the King of Creation.
A more severe condemnation of mankind could not have been pronounced. What does he leave to us, when he declares us to be the slaves of Satan, and subject to his will, so long as we live out of the kingdom of Christ? Our condition, therefore, though many treat it with ridicule, or, at least, with little disapprobation, may well excite our horror. Where is now the free-will, the guidance of reason, the moral virtue, about which Papist babble so much? What will they find that is pure or holy under the tyranny of the devil? On this subject, indeed, they are extremely cautious, and denounce this doctrine of Paul as a grievous heresy. I maintain, on the contrary, that there is no obscurity in the apostle’s language; and that all men who live according to the world that is, according to the inclinations of the flesh, are here declared to fight under the reign of Satan.
Can we now begin to understand the weight of our sin?
among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh All of us! Every night we share the gospel on the lot at the beach I quote Romans 3:23.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
You might could say it is an elementary verse. You can find it in countless gospel tracts, but I don’t think we understand the weight of it. We don’t come close to the glory of God. Not even close we are to busy walking in our own flesh being servants of the Devil! Our agenda outside of Christ is to carry out the desires of our flesh. And what does the bible call us, children of wrath.
Again I share Calvin’s commentary:
All men without exception, whether Jews or Gentiles, are here pronounced to be guilty, until they are redeemed by Christ there is no righteousness, no salvation, and in short, no excellence. Children of wrath are those who are lost, and who deserve eternal death. Wrath means the judgement of God; so that the the children of wrath are those who are condemned before God.
If we can understand the weight of this we can see that the next two words of scripture are two of the sweetest and most beautiful of words one could ever read.
But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love in which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved.
Oh what beauty! What a treasure is the gospel of grace! We who were dead in our trespasses of sin and subject to the wrath of God are caused to be made alive together with Christ. In understanding the weight of our sin we can begin to understand the glory of grace in Ephesians 1.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having being predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things to the counsel of his will. so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
We were dead in our trespasses and sin, unable to will ourselves out of the yolk of slavery to sin and Satan. But God, being rich in mercy according to his plan made us alive. He predestined us for salvation long before the foundations of the earth. In his mercy he chose us not to be subjects of his wrath, rather he made us alive together with Christ! No longer do we have hearts of stone, but he has given us a living heart of flesh. What a treasure the gospel is when we see the work of God in our salvation! All these things are done according to the counsel of his will! Praise be to God that we who were unable to do any good, unable to seek him were made alive!
But Paul does not stop here, we have an inheritance, having being predestined according to his will.
by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Through the power of the resurrection we have been assured of the ultimate result of our salvation. An inheritance in the kingdom of God seated with Christ in heaven. The knowledge of our Savior begins on earth and will last forever with him in his kingdom.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast
God’s mercy saved us, through faith given to us through the proclamation of his word and the regeneration of our hearts. There was nothing in Allen Murray that caused him to be saved, it was only the work of God. There is nothing in any of us that decided in its spiritually dead state that decided to follow Jesus. It is the glory of grace that the causes us to be made alive in Christ Jesus. What a priceless gift of God. Not of ourselves, let we boast and get the glory. Paul told us earlier, “In him we have been obtained an inheritance, having being predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory“
Our hope in salvation by faith alone through grace alone is for our hope in Christ to the praise of his glory. All glory goes to the King on the throne. We are reminded that it is not the result of some work within us, but the immeasurable gift of God’s grace that has made us alive in Christ Jesus.
The abiding work of this marvelous act of grace that made us alive and freed us from the bondage of sin and Satan is that we grown in the glory of Christ. We are are his workmanship, created for Christ Jesus for good works. Created so that we might bring him continuing glory he has prepared for us good works before hand, so that we might walk in them.
I pray we see the glory of grace in Ephesians 2:1-10, that God would bless the reading of his word, that my feeble attempt to expose and rightly divide the words of scripture would bring him glory. I pray that God would reveal the glory of his grace to those who read his scriptures and see how it is him that has saved us, not anything of ourselves that we might boast. May God be glorified!