And you were dead 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—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. BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . .
These verses have been rocking my world as of late. I have had the words “but God” stuck in my head for a couple of weeks now and can’t get it out. “Why these words?” You may ask. Well you see, in context these words should never be out of the mind of a believer in Christ.
I’ve noticed a lot of times well-intention pastors, evangelists and Christians attempt to convert people by telling them what they must do. “Repent and believe” “Ask Jesus into your heart” or my favorite “Turn or burn.” While holding up our end in coming to Christ is important (and this is not a debate on election), it tends to take the attention off of what God has done for us through Christ.
At the risk of writing an exegetical dissertation, we have to look at the “self” that many say has to do all these things to receive salvation. Paul describes the way believers once were:
2. Walked in trespasses and sins
3. Followed the course of the world, which is controlled by satan
4. Lived in the passions of our flesh
5. Carried out the desires of the body and mind
6. Children of wrath, like everyone else
These don’t sound like any sort of people who would have the desire to change their lives, much less have anything to do with the transformation. What’s more, the question remains is why and how these people would ever deserve love and salvation. The simple answer? They don’t.
Here’s the good part.
This is insane. God, the one who created, the one who breathed life into every single one of these wretches, who turned away from him declaring they know better, decides to love and offer salvation to them.
“But,” you may say, “who are ‘they?’”
We are all children of wrath. We all are dead. And we all have turned from our loving creator to things we believe are better.
This apparently doesn’t matter to him. Our Lord and God still chooses to love us and redeem us. Free of charge. Well, to us at least.
God is so rich in mercy that he pulled us out of the death that we chose. Not to mention that we chose this way in direct rebellion to him.
Holy Cow. Does it get any better?
Continuing on in the passage we see that GOD makes us ALIVE along with CHRIST. Not only have we moved out of death, but God has pulled us full speed ahead into life.
Two one-syllable words that have forever changed the world, and the wretches like you and me that live in it.