A Matter of Life and Death!
taken from a message given by Adrian Rogers
“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ …” Ephesians 2:5
Q: Is man terribly sick and needs to be healed?
A: No! Man is dead, and he needs life!
We need to understand that it's not just that something is wrong — something is drastically wrong — radically wrong! We are dead! If we're without the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re dead. Ephesians 2:1 says, “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”
The Wages of Sin ...
You see, the reason we’re dead is that we’re sinners. Who would stand up and deny that he has broken God's laws? We know we have. And Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” We have a sinful nature. We inherited it from our parents, they from theirs, and they from Adam.
David the psalmist said, “In sin did my mother conceive me.” That doesn't mean that she was a sinner when she conceived him. It means that he was conceived with a sinful nature. And that nature was a permanent part of him. We also are born into sin and, therefore, death.
Separated from God
You may say, “Well, how can I be dead? I'm still existing. I’m standing here living and breathing.” But death is not the separation of the soul from the body. Death is the separation of the soul from God.
Now don’t get the idea we have to be saved to have eternal existence. We already have eternal existence. We will exist somewhere — either in heaven or in hell. You see, we have an everlasting existence, but we don't have everlasting life until we have Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” He also said He came that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).
How to Raise a Dead Man
Now that we realize we are dead, what can be done? Let's suppose we have a dead man, and we decide we're going to raise him. What can we do? Well, let’s find an athlete, and he can do some pushups in front of him, maybe do some deep knee bends. We’ll give this dead man an example of what life is like. You think that'll raise him? No, that won't work.
Well, let’s find a scholar to give him some lessons on life. If example won't do it, surely education will raise this dead man. No, that won't work.
I'll tell you how we can raise him. Let’s find someone full of compassion to encouragehim. He can cheer him on: “Come on, you can do it! Get up, fellow, try it! We know you can do it!” No, he is still dead.
We don't have to worry because we can just put him in a better environment. We’ll surround him with a lot of live people. Won't that raise him? No, you know it won't.
Can example do it? Can education? Can encouragement or environment? No. But aren’t those exactly what the world tries? You see, a dead man can’t raise himself, and we can’t do it for him. All of our efforts programs, reforms, and methods are in vain.
The Grace of God
There is not one thing, not one person who can help, but God — the grace of God. Ephesians 2:4 says God “hath quickened us,” and to quicken means to “make us alive with Christ.” Verse five concludes by saying it is “… by grace ye are saved.” We cannot save ourselves anymore than a dead man, by his own will and volition, can come back to life. Nor can anyone else save us apart from God.
We're not saved by the merit of man but by the mercy of God. We’re not alive by the goodness of man, but by the grace of God. Salvation is not a reward for the righteous. It is a gift for the guilty. Ephesians 2:8-9 continue, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Thank God for His grace which breathes life where there once was only death! If you would like to know more about God’s grace and how to have eternal life, go to “How to Discover the Greatest Love Worth Finding” at lwf.org for help.