And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
We are born physically, emotionally and mentally alive, but spiritually dead; doomed to shuffle along the world’s course in zombie-like obedience to our flesh (the part of us infected with sin and driven by selfishness).
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Spiritual death is a big problem. Education, democracy, capitalism, psychology, criminal justice, school suspensions, groundings and time-outs cannot cure it. Education can only make us more intelligent fornicators, adulterers, and molesters. Economic improvements can only make us wealthier gluttons and addicts. Psychiatric drugs can only make us more sedate idolaters. Since our fundamental problem is not ignorance, disorganization or poverty, but death; our fundamental need is not advice, leadership or financial aid, but resurrection.
This is why Jesus is important. It’s not just that he is a great teacher, leader and moral example. It’s that in a world of death, he has life!
John, Jesus’ closest disciple, explains what it was like to know Jesus when he was on earth:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3)
If you could have heard his voice, seen him with your eyes and touched him with your hands, the overwhelming sensation would have been life. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
Believe in Jesus, follow him and live. Receive Ephesians 2:4-10 resurrection:
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— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- Read Ephesians 2:1-3. Does this picture of humanity apart from Jesus match your own perception, or does it seem overly harsh?
- Read Galatians 5:19-21. Do you see these works in our culture, in the news, in entertainment, etc.? How?
- Read Ephesians 2:4-10. How can we live in light of these glorious truths? How can we share this “good news” with non-Christians?
- Take some time to pray together.