“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—by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
I was once told a story about a man who had died in the early 1900’s and because of his size, 6’10”, they were unable to fit him into a casket; he was simply too big. Therefore, they bound his legs back with some rope in order to fit him in the casket. The funeral service was closed casket and as the pastor gave the eulogy he spoke very highly of the deceased. Then all of a sudden, right there in the middle of the sanctuary as the pastor spoke, rigor mortis set in and the man’s previously bound legs popped back into place and knocked the casket open and everyone ran out of the sanctuary terrified, thinking the dead man had come to life. He, of course, had not.
Today there is great interest in the undead. We have TV shows, movies, holidays, and costumes all dealing with people who have died and come to life. Interestingly enough, the Bible speaks of Christians as those who were dead and have come to life spiritually.
In the verses above Paul tells us that “we were dead in our trespasses” and that God “made us alive.” This being “made alive” is known as regeneration. You see, we are born spiritually dead in our sin (Ephesians 2), and we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2), who wanted nothing to with God (Romans 3), and were in rebellion toward Him (1 John 3). We are dead spiritually. And just as a dead person cannot do anything to make himself alive physically, neither can a spiritually dead person do anything to make himself alive spiritually. Therefore, in order for one to come to God in faith he must first be made alive spiritually – regenerated. This is the work of God by which He brings life to the spiritually dead heart. One author defines it this way:
“Regeneration may be defined as that supernatural work of the Holy Spirit of God which is performed in the life of a sinner whereby the sinner is given a new heart, being brought from spiritual death to spiritual life, and is made able and willing to repent of his sin before God and trust alone in Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior.” (Bill Ascol)
Once you have been made alive by God your heart is softened and your eyes are opened to the gospel. And at that moment you come to realize your need for a Savior and your response is to turn to Him in faith and repentance.
Thank God, that in His grace, He gives life to undeserving, spiritually dead sinners, who want nothing to do with Him, so that they can turn to Him in faith.
O’ how thankful we should be for the amazing grace of God who is “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—by grace you have been saved.”