God’s Word is full of glorious and awful truths… Why do I say awful? I say that because often Scripture presents things that we just don’t like to hear. There are times when I read things I really don’t like and yet what am I to do with those that I don’t care for? Often I see people wanting to explain them away as meaning something else or, like I do sometimes, skim over and not deal with the reality of them.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
There is so much awful truth in these three verses that if I really sit down and put my mind around what it means it’s devastating. Devastating because it’s a pride crusher, awful because it means what it says and I then I have to consider how pathetic I really am in telling people this awful truth. I must come to grips with the people in my life I love that are dead in their sins and trespasses.
Can we just read this plainly without a deep exegetical analysis of this text and know what it really means. “Yes”, I say and that is what is so scary about the Bible. It’s why people reject the truth, because they know what it means, but they don’t want to accept it so they would rather continue their hell-bound race than submit to God’s Word.
Paul tells us in very plain and simple language that ALL of mankind is dead. This is a spiritual deadness that resulted from the fall in the garden, not an immediate physical death, but the kind of death that causes us to be blinded to our present condition. Every one of us lives in two realities, one is that we are alive walking around, but we will die. Secondly, every one of us is dead spiritually, unless God causes us to live.
“Well, what does Paul ‘really’ mean by dead?”
nek-ros’ From an apparently primary word νέκυς nekus (a corpse); dead (literally or figuratively; also as noun): – dead.
Dead means “dead”, without life, not breathing, not walking around doing anything, buried, under the ground, being eaten by worms, DEAD. Spiritually dead, of course, not some sort of a zombie state, but that is a decent analogy of the unbeliever’s condition, they are walking around dead and don’t realize it.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–
There it is again, death spread to all mankind because of Adam’s sin. It’s an inherited trait, a true disease that afflicts all mankind. This is the doctrine of Total Depravity. Perhaps better described as Total Inability, man is incapable of doing good. Of course sinful, dead man will respond with “Are you saying nobody ever does anything good?”
Mark 10:18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
Total Depravity does not mean mankind is incapable of any morally good actions, but they don’t have the ability to please God through their actions. It’s quite straightforward. Not only are we dead, we are also deceitful and desperately wicked and we will fool ourselves into thinking highly of ourselves.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Let’s go back to the beginning for a moment because I know people will decry the ability for man to freely choose. Adam was created by God and was given everything that he needed to live and enjoy God. He was placed in a perfectly climate controlled environment. He was given a beautiful wife, and purpose by tending the garden, naming the animals. Not only was he able to walk and talk with God, he even had the opportunity to eat of the tree of eternal life. Yet Adam “freely chose” to disobey the one simple command God had given him.
He only had ONE rule.
We all have by nature selfish desires. God gave mankind the ability to choose and he chose by nature to disobey God, and because of this death spread to all mankind. Therefore, we are incapable of restoring a right relationship, or cannot earn favor with God through our actions. The very best we have is nothing but a filthy garment, an unclean thing says Isaiah. (Isaiah 64:6). This word filth is a discarded menstrual rag, have you ever thought of your best works in that manner?
Has anyone ever seen a dead man get up out of the grave? Lift themselves up by their boot straps, so to speak… I live near a cemetery and we walk through it often, it’s serene and peaceful, there is very little activity taking place. I’ve never seen a grave disturbed from below, never heard of the dead rising and coming back to life, except when reading my Bible. This is all of mankind’s spiritual condition before a Holy God.
There is good news for those that understand this condition…
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus
What an amazing and glorious truth. What an awful truth for those that don’t recognize their condition. If you’ve never understood you are spiritually dead, I pray you will meditate on these words, repent of your sin and beg God to be merciful. He will not cast out those who come to Him broken and in need of Him.