Yesterday we heard a powerful chapel message about the great change that MUST happen to any and everyone who would enter the gates of heaven. While chapter 1 of Ephesians describes so beautifully the many spiritual blessings that God has given to His chosen and adopted children, the beginning of chapter 2 gives us a sobering reminder that these amazing riches of God’s grace only apply to those who are alive in Christ. None of us came out of our mother’s womb praising Jesus! No, we were all born “dead in trespasses and sins” (v. 1). From the friendly, well-behaved girl on the honor roll to the cussing, angry boy with a half dozen pink slips, the default spiritual condition of ALL students without a real, saving relationship with Jesus Christ is the same – DEAD IN SINS! The appearance of some people’s sinfulness may be better hidden than it is with others, but in the heart that has never been born again by the Holy Spirit, the condition is the same – DEAD IN SINS! The person without Jesus on the inside, no matter how nice they may seem on the outside, is a follower and prisoner of Satan (the “prince of the power of the air”) and the deceitful belief system of this wicked world (v. 2). Every person without Christ is ultimately a slave to their own selfish desires, both the sins of the flesh (what they do and say) and the mind (what they think and want) – they are DEAD IN SINS (v. 3)! And because of their sinful deeds and words and thoughts that pour forth from their sinful hearts, people without Christ are under God’s just sentence of punishment and condemnation (v. 4). They are headed for the hell that they rightly deserve.
If the passage ended here, all would be hopeless and lost for us. But praise God for verses 4-6! By the power of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from physical death, anyone who honestly repents of their sins and trusts in His work on their behalf can be saved from their wretched condition of spiritual death. Every truly born-again Christian has this testimony in their heart, that God has raised them from being DEAD IN SINS to being ALIVE IN CHRIST! If you are a Christian, you were delivered from death to life the moment you trusted in Jesus Christ for your personal, eternal salvation. You are no longer a dead man or woman walking, but a living, breathing bearer of God’s resurrection power! By God’s love and grace, you have forever passed from death to life and are now on the road to heaven.
But be warned. If the past nine months of middle school student ministry at NRCA have taught us anything, it is that salvation is serious and mysterious business. We have seen students who nobody ever knew were lost based on their outward behaviors come weeping to the cross of Jesus for salvation! No one knew that they were dead on the inside, but now they want everyone to know that they are ALIVE IN CHRIST! Tragically, others have made public professions of faith, some even with great emotion and excitement, and yet shown few or no signs of real spiritual change and fruit in their lives. The application of today’s passage would be two-fold: 1) Make every effort to be certain that YOU have passed from death to life yourself; “make your call and election sure” (check out 1 Peter 1:5-10) and 2) Do not assume that everyone is alive in Christ just because of what they claim to believe, but look for consistent spiritual fruit in picking your friends; if they are aren’t consistently acting like Jesus and don’t seem like they are even trying or wanting to be like Him, they might not really be “in Him.”
These are strong and difficult teachings and applications, but this is what Ephesians 2:1-6 is saying. Read it yourself below and let God speak to your heart today.
The Text (Ephesians 2:1-6)
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 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, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Questions to Think About
1. Have you passed from death to life as described in today’s passage? How can you tell?
2. Would your friends believe that you are ALIVE IN CHRIST or still DEAD IN SINS? Why?
3. Are there any friendships that you need to reconsider and reevaluate right now based on today’s passage? Is it possible that you have been spending time with spiritually dead people and not known it? Proverbs 13:30 warns us that, “He who walks with wise men [and women] will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” When it comes to whom you trust with sharing your heart and life and soul, choose very carefully!