“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” (Ephesians 2:1 NKJV)
You were dead. The Greek word dead (nekrous) literally means ‘corpse’ or ‘dead body’. Paul is reminding the church of Ephesus they were powerless, trapped in their trespasses and sins. When I preach this particular passage of Scripture, I use the illustration of how ridiculous it is to tell a dead man to use a pair of defibrillators to bring himself back to life. Obviously, a dead man can’t grab a pair of defibrillators and use them on himself to get his heart to beat again. The same is true for our spiritual condition. We cannot turn our heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ez. 36:26) and nor do we possess the desire to do so. Dead men do not want anything. Dead men are content in their deadness.
Dead men need outside intervention. Just as outside help can grab a set of defibrillators and use it to jump start the heart of a dead man, so does God in Christ bring us from spiritual death to spiritual life. The Scripture teaches us that God demonstrated His love for us through Christ’s perfect person and work (Rom. 5:8). Let me explain how this works. God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, took your dead heart and my dead heart and regenerated it. In other words, the Holy Spirit brought our hearts to life. The Holy Spirit applied Christ’s finished work to our lives just as He applied our sin to Jesus. This is no doing of our own, it is a gift from God. Once our hearts are regenerated, we are irresistibly compelled to respond with repentance of sin and faith in Jesus. Repentance and faith are the only appropriate response a regenerated heart can express. And the beauty is, the Holy Spirit seals us and preserves our inheritance until the day we acquire possession of it (Eph. 1:14). So, believer, thank your Triune God today for bringing you from death, to life.
Joey Tomlinson (DMin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a husband, father, and pastor at a local church in Newport News, Virginia. He blogs regularly on broadoakpiety.org and hosts a weekly podcast called The Broad Oak Piety Podcast with another local pastor in the community.