By Henry Law, 1884
Ephesians 2:1—10. Dead in Sin—Alive in Christ
Ephesians 2:1. "And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."
This verse presents a striking contrast. It exhibits our natural condition, and tells us into what state we are brought by the gracious power of God. (1.) We were dead in trespasses and sins. (2.) We have been brought from death unto life by the quickening Spirit. Heavenly Father, shine now into our hearts, and give us to feel what wondrous mercy has been extended towards us!
(1.) We were dead in trespasses and sins. Let us never forget, that in Adam we lost all spiritual life. Satan seized upon his soul, and inflicted a mortal wound. He was created with the light of heaven in his heart, but sin gained entrance, and utterly extinguished every spark. He became corrupt and depraved in every faculty, perception, and power. It is indisputable that Adam could not impart to his descendants that which he no longer possessed. A holy being cannot spring from an unholy; neither a clean from an unclean. Darkness cannot produce light; the grape cannot bud forth from the brier. Thus no descendant of fallen Adam could bring a living soul into this world. All who are naturally born of him must be born dead as to God.
How humbling is this thought! What can be more pitiable than to see natural men swelling with haughty pride, and vaunting as if endued with great and noble faculties! Alas! what are they? Fleshy sepulchers of expired souls. There is no life within, and the moving clay must soon crumble into dust. Yet such men will oppose God, and dispute against His truth, and openly revile His new-born children. Such, however, were we; but we are quickened. Blessing and glory be unto Him, who in the multitude of His tender mercies, has wrought a change!
But we were not only dead by nature, we were dead also in practice. The life within us, not being the life of God, was the life of the Evil One. Therefore, every movement of the inner man, being utterly apart from God, was only animate towards Satan. Whatever we did, having no reference to God, was sin. All our deeds, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, were evil. Every thought was sin—and, therefore, every word and every work was sin, and that continually. Death to God is life to sin. Every step which we took was in sin towards hell. Every moment which passed over our heads witnessed an aggravation and accumulation of iniquity, and brought us nearer to endless perdition. The dreadful description of the prophet exactly belonged to us. "Ah! sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward. From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores." Is this our present state? Thanks be unto God! we now live unto Him. "While we were in our blood, He said unto us, live; yes, while we were in our blood, He said unto us, live."
(2.) This brings us to our second truth—We have been brought from death unto life by the quickening Spirit. When we had no power to look towards God, or cry unto Him—when we had no inclination or desire to seek His face—He drew near unto us, and raised us from the grave of our iniquities. He caused the dry bones to live. Can we doubt who is the first mover in the work of regeneration? It is our God, in the plenitude of His love. Shall we enquire what motive constrained Him? It could be nothing in us, for we were dead in trespasses and sins—all that we did and had was vileness and abomination in His sight. Nothing moved Him but the love which is His essence. He quickened us because He loved us—He loved us because He would love us. Let us adore this love, which brought life and light into our souls; and let us love Him, who first so loved us. If He so loved us, while our whole nature was enmity to Him, will He cease to love us, now that He has made us partakers of the divine nature, and has given us new powers to know, worship, and serve Him? It cannot be. He has loved us with an everlasting love, and never will He cast us off.
We may now plead with Him, that we are His workmanship, the temples of the Holy Spirit; and we may beseech Him for His glory's sake, to forsake not the work of His own hands—and we may rejoice in the assurance, that He who has begun this good work, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Let the new-born exclaim, Have we received this life from heaven? Oh! then, let us live as redeemed from the death in trespasses and sins, and as quickened unto the life of God. It is true not of the Jews only, but of all God's children, "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise." Remember what Spirit dwells within you—cease altogether from the world and the flesh—walk in the Spirit—be not carnally-minded, which is death, but be spiritually-minded, which is life and peace. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
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