Thursday, November 27, 2014

Walking Dead Made Alive

November 27 2014

Isn’t it amazing how you can read through God’s word and come back to the same part of scripture and get a deeper understanding of it? That is what happened to me recently as I was reading Ephesians 2:1-10. I know that our pastor has covered this part of scripture with us in the past, but when I went through it recently, some vital important words jumped out at me that added another layer of understanding.

There are numerous passages talking about being raised from the dead, but what does that really mean. Do we have to wait until we’re dead in the ground before we are raised from the dead? Paul in Ephesians is not writing about the physical body being raised from the dead but the spiritual, long before we take out last breath.

There is a TV series called The Walking Dead where surviving humans have to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overcome by flesh eating zombies. I personally have never seen the show but find the premise of the show to have something in common with the spiritual state of our world today. The truth of the matter is that, spiritually speaking, we are living among the dead and were once dead ourselves. Paul explains this truth and the need to realize where we came from and how we were brought out of that dead existence because of a special gift and the responsibility that comes with it.

Ephesians 2:1-10

(V.1)And you He made alive. When Jesus uttered the words, “it is finished,” this is the moment we were made alive. The word made means completed, finished, ended and prepared. We were made alive from trespasses and sins which come from walking (V.2) according to: (a) the course of this world, (b) according to the prince of the power of the air (in other words the god of the dead), who works in the sons of disobedience. (V.3)Among whom also we all walked conducting ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. We were no better than the walking dead with no chance at eternal life…

(V.4) But (except, save for) God—this is a powerful statement. In other words—only God—if it weren’t for God—we would NEVER have been made alive from this eternal dead spiritual state; God who is (a) rich in mercy, (b) who has great love with which He loved us. Loved us when? (V.5) …Even when we were dead in trespasses—left in an eternal state of spiritual decay because of the first Adam, covered with spiritual maggots, and emitting a stench that was unbearable to God because of our trespasses and sin. It was from this state that we were made alive. God’s plan all along was to save His creation from the first Adam’s choice, but how?

The key word here is together, jointly, with Christ. When Christ was raised from the dead, we who believe were also raised from eternal death. Paul in verse 6 repeats this again—God raised us together—without Christ being raised from the dead, there would be no chance for us. It was God’s power that raised Christ and the reason we now have this new life. We could never have achieved this on our own. Only with Christ could this be made possible because He was the perfect sacrifice for all. Here’s the coolest part…God not only raised us together, but He also made us sit together with Christ in the heavenly places. Our view has changed from where we sat before, and Paul is telling us here that we no longer have the same perspective as we once did when we were walking in this world.  For in Him we live and move and have our being… (Acts 17:28). 

(V.7) That in the ages to come, He might show others His exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. We who believe now have a good work to fulfill, not works of the flesh, but works for the Kingdom. We are now His ambassadors! Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us;... (II Corinthians 5:20).  Jesus is sitting on the throne, and we are now His representation from that heavenly court. We are now coming on Christ’s behalf to the dead still in this lost world, of who still walk among us, imploring them on Christ behalf to be reconciled to God! Jesus asked the Father to not remove us from the world but to protect us from the evil one for we who are believers are living in a hostile world (John 17:15). Jesus knows that we are to remain here for a reason; the good workings of Christ that are yet to be fulfilled in each of us for the sake of saving the many.

(V.8) Grace came first—this is His gift to the dead—and faith came second; faith to believe that Christ was indeed raised from the dead and us together with Him. Cleansed of all our trespasses and sin; not of ourselves for it is a giftfrom God. Having been called and separated to share this amazing good news with others who are still walking according to this world, according to the prince of the power of the air.

(V.9) There is nothing any of us could ever do to earn this gift. Because it is not of works, even those who think they’re “good” people don’t have a chance. Why? Because our carnal nature is enmity against God (Romans 8:7)…remember those walking in trespasses and sin are a stench to Him. No amount of works on our part can cover that smell. And as if we could ever cover that smell up, we would end up boasting about it (pride comes into play which is a sin). (V.10)No, we are His workmanship—the fruit of His love—created in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:14-16) that His name may be known…not ours through good works that God already laid aside for each of us to do, before we were even born, beforehand Paul writes, that we should walk alive in Him, and not as the walking dead any longer.

We serve the God of the living as it says in Mark 12:27, “He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living,” and if that is so, then we should be walking therefore in the Spirit. Paul focuses on three walks in Ephesians 5:1-21: walk in love, walk in light, and walk in wisdom. 

Walk in Love

Be imitators of God not the god of this world. Walking in love means to follow the steps Jesus took. Sometimes it’s hard to love the unlovely people in our lives but it is the heart of Christ that we pray for their hearts and salvation. It means living a sacrificial life which is a reasonable service (Romans 12:1). Serve not only in your excess but especially in your lacking. Service is about giving of one’s time and energy for the betterment of the church body. It means praying for others needs and meeting others needs. Not always thinking of ourselves and what we need and want.

Walk in Light

We came from darkness (zombies) but now walk in the light, and therefore, should be bearing the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23, which is born out of all goodness, righteousness, and truth and is acceptable to the Lord. We should have no fellowship with darkness any longer but expose them. Be honest with yourself and root out any unfruitful works out in your life.

Walk in Wisdom

Redeem the time you have left on this earth by walking circumspectly (vigilantly, watchful) because the days are evil. Read the word daily to gain understanding and wisdom, fellowship with other believers encouraging one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for God’s goodness, and submitting to one another in the fear of God.

This is truly something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Feast on His love—bask in His light—drink in His good pleasure. For it pleases Him to have you sit at His table!