4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-7, Modern English Version
It is through Jesus that we encounter and experience God’s deepest love and grace. With the work of the cross already finished and complete, God in Christ has done all things possible to bring humanity to His saving grace and offers a life enjoying a right standing with God.
By incorporating us into His death and resurrection even before we believed in God, Christ removed everything that prevented us from receiving God had for us. Jesus saved us from both sin and the wrath of God, there is now absolutely nothing that can impede a person from choosing to follow Christ and believe Him as Lord and Saviour.
The Apostle Paul describes this truth beautifully, telling us that even when we are dead in sin, God in Christ made us alive together with Him. If we take Paul’s words seriously, the clear implication is that we are born again even before we believe. Not what we were commonly presumed, that is we must believe in order to be born again. Salvation is always and still is the grace of God at work.
Now it is no longer sin that keeps us from God but it is our unwillingness to receive God’s love and grace. It is our unbelief that will keep us living a victorious life in Christ.
It is by being made alive with Christ that we can believe in Christ.
Having such a great gift of salvation, we assume everyone wants to be saved. But it is not always so. Jesus tells us that there are some who have no sense of their own sinfulness and as such find no need for a Saviour. Too often they see sin as something only evil people would do but not realising sin is enmity with God (James 4:4).
Sin is not what you do but why you do it. Sin is not deeds but a nature within us that acts against God. Sin refuses to acknowledge God’s sovereignty over us and our unwillingness to trust Him for what He has promised. Having removed sin, Jesus gave us a new divine nature and a right standing. This allows every person to have an authentic and personal relationship with God in Christ. This can only come by grace through faith.
Application: What have I learned about God and my relationship with Him?
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.