Day 2: Made Alive in Christ
“And you [He made alive when you] were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you once walked. You were following the ways of this world [influenced by this present age], in accordance with the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in the disobedient [the unbelieving, who fight against the purposes of God]. 3 Among these [unbelievers], we all once lived in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by the sinful self], indulging the desires of [a]human nature [without the Holy Spirit] and [the impulses] of the [sinful] mind. We were, by nature, children [under the sentence] of [God’s] wrath, just like the rest [of mankind]. 4 But God, being [so very] rich in mercy, because of His great and wonderful love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, He made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ (for by His grace—His undeserved favor and mercy—you have been saved from God’s judgment). 6 And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ.” (Ephesians 2:1-6 AMP)
Today’s passage speaks to us about the condition of our hearts before Jesus sacrificed His life to save us. How does knowing our sins and transgressions help us to be thankful for what God has done for us?
I was raised in a Catholic family and attended Catholic schools. Sin was rarely discussed, and when it was, we had to go to church and confess our sins to a priest, who then granted us absolution. At the end of the confession, the priest had us recite several prayers, for example, three Hail Marys and the Our Father. I never felt different after doing my act of contrition. I never understood how the priest could forgive me or how doing an act of penance could help me. But we were required to do it every Friday morning before class or every Saturday night.
I was twenty years old when one of my college professors spoke to me about Jesus. She told me that we are all sinners, and Jesus had to come and die on the cross in order to save us. Even though I didn’t understand what she meant, she had planted the seed in me. I prayed repeatedly, asking Jesus to reveal Himself to me. Though I wish it had, it didn’t happen overnight. First, I needed to seek God with all my heart and accept who I was. That’s when my search began, and I started to understand who I was and why He had come for me.
Ephesians 2:1–6 states that we were dead in our sins and our transgressions. That means we were spiritually dead and had no power to bring ourselves back to life. Trespasses is known as paraptoma in Greek. This word refers to our willingness to cross boundary lines. The Greek word for sin is amartia, which means to miss the mark or not live up to God’s standard of righteousness and perfection.
So, what does this mean? It means we willingly choose to run away from God and choose our path.
But here is evidence of God’s amazing love for us: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-6 NIV)
We didn’t deserve His love. We weren’t even aware that we were dead. Yet, He chose us. He chose to save us and redeem us, not because we deserved it, but because He loved us.
According to Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast. We are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We were dead in our sins and transgressions, but God made us alive in Christ. While we were running from God, He was running to us. He chose you and me when we didn’t deserve it. I once read of a vision Ezekiel had in which he saw the land covered in dry bones, and the Lord said to the bones: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'” (Ezekiel 37:5-6 NIV)
Although we were completely dead and without hope, our God brings dead things to life.
Friends, we who have placed our faith in Jesus were once dead, but now we are alive in Christ. We are no longer dry bones; we are alive because of Jesus. We no longer need to live a life without purpose or seek fleeting pleasures. Our Father loved us enough to run to us and rescue us from our eternal death. Because Jesus is alive, we are alive in Him. Every day that we are alive, we owe to Jesus. He took our dry, lifeless bones and gave us an abundant life. We may not get everything we want in this life, but we can be sure that, one day, we will spend eternity with Him. And it’s not because we earned it or deserve it; rather, it’s because He loves us and gave His life so we can live.
Lord, thank You for turning these dry bones to life. Thank You for not giving up on me even when, at times, my heart and my flesh fail, You oh Lord, have never failed me. Your love for me endures forever. Help me keep my eyes on You alone, for when I do, I can run my race knowing that You are right beside me and one day I will be with You for all eternity. In Your name, I praise You, amen.
• Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631.
• Lucado, Max (2013). God Will Use This For Good. Nashville, Tennessee by Thomas Nelson, Inc.