Read His Words Before Ours!
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”
This is not the way to start a love story.
Declaration of one’s death isn’t winsome or sweet, inciting feelings of depth and happiness. Unbidden, news of death reminds us of our own mortality, or experiences of walking the grievous pathways of heartbreaking, tragic loss.
A vibrant family diagnosed with two cases of brain cancer within months of each other makes me consider how fleeting and unexpected our lives are.
A fatal shooting of a 5-year-old on the news brings to mind images of my own precious 5-year-old, alive and well, but I’m haunted by “what if.”
My wonderful friend’s 2-month-old daughter is found lifeless in her crib, and my arms ache for the babe I carried inside, but never held outside my body.
Here, in this setting of closed curtains and covered graveyards, Paul inhales deeply and pens to the Ephesians, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”
Sin feels easy, even as if it’s the only real pattern for life.
We have already been rendered deceased, by the very alive God, the moment we sinned.
Our sins chain us to our own cemeteries.
In vast deception, we love our death.
We crave it.
We want more of it.
We move through our everyday completely oblivious to our own death stench, unaware of the emptiness of our actions as we chase incessantly after our lusts, our control, and our everything. (Ephesians 2:2-3)
However, a deception, no matter how hauntingly insidious, never negates the truth.
We were already dead,
and we deserved to stay there because of our illustrious love affair with sin.
But God loved us.
But God was merciful to us.
But God, intently focused on bringing dead things to life,
In the face of our rebellion and hearts that shunned Him, the Light of Life gave of Himself in such costly, glorious magnificence, we are left with only two ridiculously simple choices.
Life or Death.
Jesus Christ, wholly God, wrapped Himself in the frailty of human flesh, submitted Himself to the vast array of human emotion and devious temptation to live for Himself; yet from His first breath of oxygen as a tiny babe to His final, ragged gasp on a criminal’s cross, He was perfect.
He did what we never could because we are chained to sin, while He was free.
He lived sinless. Wholly without a single lustful thought, one self-centered angry word, or any other hint of sin. Then, with more humility than I can possibly conceive, He lowered Himself even more and willingly placed Himself under the punishment for sin that we deserve!
In His death, He took on our sin, and suffered the consequence of being an outcast from the presence of God.
Lifeless, He lay in a borrowed tomb for three days, until, at just the right time, His cold limbs grew warm, His chest rose and fell, His pulse began to beat rhythmically, and His dead eyes opened.
Death had been defeated!
And so, Paul’s ominous entrance unfolds, indeed, to the greatest love story ever told.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins. (…)
But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of His great love that He had for us,
made us alive with Christ”
Alive so that, miraculously, these once-dead-hearts now beat in tandem to the heart of God. (Ephesians 2:6)
Alive so that, unfathomably, God might continue to display His vast, magnificent love towards us with all richness in the eternity stretching out before us. (Ephesians 2:7)
Alive so that, astoundingly, we can walk into a new life filled to the brim with purpose and divine intention. (Ephesians 2:10)
Awakened to life, real life.
But since we have a tendency to forget this lavish gift was either once given, daily made new, or ever extended in the first place, the apostle implores, “So, then, remember….” (Ephesians 2:11)
Remember, you who have been made new and alive, remember what it was like to be dead.
Remember the destruction, the fear, the impenetrable pain, the desperate loneliness.
Remember what it was like to walk around faking life while you were dead.
Let that remembrance embolden you to live like you’re alive!
Love one another.
Love the God who set you free.
Fight for unity in your relationships, your families, and your churches.
Honor one another before yourselves.
And share this glorious gospel goodness with others who are dead, just as you once were!
May our everyday lives be living love story testimonies of the God who brings life from death!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!