Before you believed, you were the walking dead. You had no hope or future. You were not only in danger of being devoured by the monsters of this world, you actually followed them and were like them. Verses 1-3 say,
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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.”
Unbeliever, do you say are not a child of wrath and you are basically a good person? What is being good? How many lies can you tell and still be good? How many people can you hurt and still be decent? How many times can you pass the needy and still be virtuous? Are you sure you haven’t tipped those scales toward bad yet?
In God’s Kingdom there are no scales, no one is good enough. Human nature, often called the flesh in the Bible makes us inherently selfish. We want to be happy. In pursuing our happiness we do all kinds of things such as lying, ignoring other’s needs, caring about our own desires more than someone else’s, and even harming ourselves and others. But God didn’t leave us to our flesh. He made a way. Verses 4-5 read,
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—“
God is merciful! What is mercy? It is a term we hear often, especially in the Christian community but have you considered what it means? It means compassionate forgiving treatment toward someone who could be treated harshly. Mercy is kindness toward a desperate person, especially a person whom you have power over. God is rich in mercy. He loves us. He loves you now, no matter how bad you are, or even if you swear He isn’t real. Even if you hate Him, He loves you.
Everyone, believer or not is sinful. But to the person who says, “I believe, Jesus is in charge of my life” He raises him from the dead and makes him alive with Christ. Believer, you are alive with a new heart, mind, and soul. You are no longer without a future. You are no longer walking this earth a dead man. You still struggle with the flesh. You still sin. You still do all those things that focus on the self. But now with The Holy Spirit within you giving you life, you also are able to forgo the self and focus on Jesus, whose focus is on others. You are able to love them in a way you didn’t even know existed when you were dead. God did that for you, not because you were good, not because you work hard, or give to the poor, or act. He saved you because He is graceful.
It is by grace you are saved. So what is grace? I hear you, Christian saying it as if you are repeating your childhood multiplication tables, you rote answer is “unmerited favor.” And it is, but what is that? It is unmerited, undeserved, unjustified, unwarranted, unearned. You did nothing to earn it, deserve it, or even pay it back! Salvation is a gift that was bought with the steep price of Jesus’ blood. That is a big deal.
Imagine you are poor, go back to Charles Dickens’ days and you are a street urchin, you don’t know your parents, you haven’t eaten in 3 days, and you have pneumonia that will kill you unless you get medical attention fast. Now imagine a wealthy kind man sees you and your situation. You say to him, “Help me, Sir, please.” He pulls out of his pocket a diamond bigger than your fist and gives it to you. Then he takes you to his home calls his doctor, treats you, heals you, feeds you, adopts you, and gives you a home. You did nothing at all to deserve that kindness. He saved you. All you can do to repay him is to live well and do for others what he did for you. That is grace.
But God went even further! He didn’t just raise you form death, which would have been enough. He didn’t only call you blameless and forgive every wrong you ever committed or will commit, He made you partners with Christ. You can’t earn Heaven. You can’t work for Salvation. You have nothing to boast about yourself and everything to brag about Christ. He saved you for a reason. Verses 6-7 read,
“and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus”
Salvation is not the only mercy and grace you received at the moment you believed. He continues to lavish you with His amazing love and kindness. While your good works can’t earn you favor, they are what you were created to do. He made you specifically to do great things for Him. Not because you are good or talented but because you were created, chosen, and shaped by God to do them. Verses 8-10 read,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”