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.
Some claim that mankind’s problem is not that we’re sinful but that we’re sick. If only we could provide for ourselves the right kind of care, medicine, or technology, then our lives would be transformed and we’d be ok, for surely man is essentially good, not innately sinful. At least, so goes the thinking.
According to the Bible, however, the only adequate explanation for the predicament we face is that man is spiritually lifeless. It’s not even that we are spiritually sick; outside of Christ we are “dead in [our] trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, emphasis added). And how much can a dead person do to make themselves alive? Nothing.
So you and I quite literally have a grave problem—unless, that is, there is one who is able to speak into the deadness of our experience and, by His very words, bring us to life. And that, of course, is Christianity’s great message: “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).
The best physical picture of this spiritual reality is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Imagine the scene. Lazarus was gone, and everyone knew it. He had been buried for four days. And yet Jesus walked up to the tomb and addressed the dead man: he “cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’” (John 11:43). And Lazarus came out.
How was it that Lazarus came to life? It was a result of the voice of Jesus, who alone can speak so that the spiritually dead hear. Just as Jesus brought life to lifeless Lazarus, so He breathes life into the deadness of men’s and women’s spiritual condition. Spiritually, we are corpses—just as dead and decaying as Lazarus in his tomb. But when God chooses, He utters His word and awakens us to life. As the hymn writer puts it:
He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive.
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
The humble poor believe.
We are not to think too much of ourselves. Left to our own devices and efforts, we are dead. We can never think too much of Jesus. He and He alone is the reason we have life. And we must never think too little of the call to share His gospel with those around us; for we have been given the inestimable privilege of being the means by which Jesus calls dead people to come out of their spiritual grave and discover eternal life with Him. To whom is He prompting you to speak of Him today?
Questions for Thought
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Topics: Biblical Figures New Birth Resurrection
1 Charles Wesley, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (1739).
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg