DEAD AND STINKING!
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit which is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were all by nature objects of wrath (Eph. 2: 1-3).
Have you ever smelt the stench of rotting flesh? It is not pleasant, to say the least. If dead flesh smells bad, what do you suppose a dead spirit smells like to the Father? From God’s point of view, we were dead in our sinful nature and lifestyle – dead to Him because our sin created a chasm between Him and us and left us lifeless and alone.
What a gloomy picture of the people in the world who have nothing to do with God and are therefore nothing more than empty shells with no real life in them! Paul vividly describes all of us in our state of alienation from God – selfish, ungodly, and living only to gratify every craving and desire with no thought for the way our lives and behaviour affect others.
The world of entertainment and what it dishes up, including the filth that Hollywood spews out and everything that flows from the mass media – scandal, violence, illicit sex, crime and every form of unsavoury behaviour – is the diet we feed on, and then we wonder why the world is so bad. Sin is like a snowball. The more sin we feed on, the more sin we practice.
Paul makes no excuse for anyone. Whoever we are, if we are not in “Christ”, we are all in the same boat. It’s just the degree that varies. Even the most respectable of people are separated from by God by their sin.
Unfortunately for us, unlike the belief system of some religions, God does not weigh our sin and our good deeds in the balance. We were infected with a sin nature from our conception, which we inherited from Adam and which makes us dead to God before we took our first breath. No one has to teach a child to sin. It is as spontaneous as breathing. Even if we teach him to live a moral and upright life, the nature within him pulls him towards sin. No one can see the sins of the spirit – greed, selfishness, lust, jealousy, resentment, bitterness – and the list goes on, but they are there in all of us.
Paul calls us all “objects of wrath”. How can we be under the wrath of God? How fair is that when we were born in sin? Unfortunately, we had no choice in the matter because we are all descendants of Adam. As representative man, he chose to defy God’s instruction and brought condemnation on the whole human race. But not only that. Every time we do what is natural to us, we confirm our own status under God’s wrath. God must punish sin because it is a violation of His holiness.
But, because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raise us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages, He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2: 4-7).
Out it comes in a rush! It’s almost as though Paul enjoyed painting as gloomy a picture as he could about our sinful state so that he could pour out in lavish language, the magnitude of what God has done for us in His Son. How sad that many so-called preachers of the gospel miss it altogether. They present Jesus as the cure for all ills. They preach a message and issue an invitation that makes it sound as though we do God a favour by “accepting Jesus as our personal Saviour”.
God was not obliged to do anything for us. His wrath falls on us because we are responsible for everything we have said and done. We can blame whoever we like but, in the end, whatever we do and however we live is our choice. We decide how we will respond to whatever life dishes up for us.
God stepped in with a masterful plan to rescue us from our plight, and it had nothing to do with us. In fact, He didn’t even do it because He felt sorry for us. He did it to put His glory on display. It was His opportunity to reveal His true nature to the devil and his minions who are at war with God. He sent His own Son as a substitute for man, to take the rap for what we have done in rebellion against Him, so that we can go free. No more debt. No more guilt. No more barrier between Him and us.
He made it possible for us to have life, to forgive our sin, change our hearts and embrace us as His beloved sons and daughters. Who in their right mind would not respond in love to someone who did that for us?
It’s all about Him from beginning to end. God does not beg us to accept His offer. He graciously extends it to us, in fact, He commands us to repent and believe the gospel… but the response is ours. We can come home to Him and live under His authority and in His family, or we can remain in our dead and stinking state. He will not choose for us.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.