I’ve been pregnant. Five times in fact. And I’ve been in a state of non pregnancy, obviously. But I’ve never been a little bit pregnant. With pregnancy you either are or you are not pregnant. You can’t be a little bit pregnant.
Life is like that too. You are either are alive or you are not. You can’t be a little bit alive.
Death is the same. You are either dead or you are not. You can’t be a little bit dead.
“… the Holy Spirit must get in to our insides and there apply the work of the Cross and Resurrection in destroying the old death and bringing the new life.”
We had a farm with many animals. I know what it’s like to kill an animal and bury it. I was also a nurse. I’ve cared for terminal patients and cared for the bodies of dead people. There’s not much middle ground there. Try as one might, there is no way to get a dead body to do respond to stimuli. It simply cannot. It has no mind, no will. It cannot be reasoned with, manipulated, encouraged or cajoled. A dead animal cannot will itself to life or to change. Dead is dead. Without life.
Yet, as Christians we often expect this very unnatural law of other people. People who are not believers, who have not been born again, who have not been drawn to God, repented and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. Without God, mankind is dead in their sins. I was dead in my sin before God revealed Himself to me. I was dead. Incapable of choosing life, incapable of getting up, dusting myself off and putting on new clothes. Why or how do we expect those who are dead to the things of God to love Him, respond to him and live according to His ways?
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 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— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the bodyt and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
~Ephesians 2: 1-9
With what resources do we expect [spiritually] dead people to arise from death and live? Will power? A desire to live a clean life? They’re dead. Incapable of response. How can they choose the action to live?
What choice does a baby have to be born? He/she doesn’t. The earthly decision to be born is the result of the parents decision. An external force, if you will. Spiritual birth is similar! It is a work of God.
That’s how it was in my life. I was dead in my sins- it’s not like I had the wherewithall or the reseources to do it myself. God picked me up, dusted me off and breathes his life into me through the blood of Jesus. The decision to give birth is that of the Supreme, Divine parent – our father, God the Creator of All. It’s His decision!
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
So why do we expect godly behaviour and attitudes from those who have not been made alive in Christ? Why are we shocked when dead people act dead? Let us not be guilty of putting pearls and fine linen on a corpse for appearance sake. Let’s pray and preach the good news of Christ for the dead’s sake- that they may hear the word of God and be made alive.
Anyone who is involved in personal evangelism can share countless examples of persons who, though presently living in gross sin, will nonetheless tell the evangelist that they are fine because they “made a decision for Christ” a certain number of years ago. They have never had any change in their life; they have no interest in church, the Bible, or even God. But they have made their “decision.” Can we not see how dangerous such a system is to the souls of men?
~ Jim Ehrhard
That before the creation of the universe God thought of me! For some reason known to himself, He chose me to be on his team. He didn’t choose me because I had made a decision (for I was dead in my sin when I realised that I was on God’s team). He didn’t choose me because I am holy or righteous. Rather, that through Christ I might become holy. All that I am is grounded in the fact that God freely chose me. What then do I have to boast about except His goodness, His mercy, His grace?