advent lettering

O Come All Ye Faithful

Bringing the Dead to Life

Today's Reading

Ephesians 2:1-10

Throughout the previous weeks, we have journeyed through the New Testament and seen the impact that an encounter with Jesus had on so many. But isn’t it wonderful that the work of Christ didn’t end with the Book of Revelation?

This week, we are going to look beyond the Bible and into history as we witness the lives of four individuals—Augustine, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and C.S. Lewis. Each of these men are testimonies to the transforming power of Christ.

As we get ready for this exploration, let’s turn to Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and pause briefly to soak in the beauty of the second chapter.

Ephesians 2:1-10 can be broken into three sections—the reality of our lives before Christ (1-3), the mercy of God through Christ (4-9), and the new reality of our lives in Christ (10). 

In the first part, Paul lays it out clearly. Before we met Christ, we were dead in our sins. It wasn’t that we were sick or ill or misguided. We were dead, lifeless, and without any hope. A dead man can’t do anything, and that is where we stood in relation to God—dead.

Each of the individuals we will discover this week at some stage felt the weight of that reality in their lives. They practiced independence and self-reliance, each expressing that in their own way. But when confronted with the reality of the cross, they broke under the weight of their status before God as being dead in their sin.

That is why I love verse 4 so much. It is the greatest conjunction in the Bible—"But God….”

What an amazing turn! God, rich in mercy and driven by a great love for us, made us alive in Christ. To reiterate this unbelievable reality, Paul again reminds us that this action was done “while we were still dead in our transgressions.”

Lest anyone think that God’s actions were spurred on by our actions, Paul squelches that lie. It is by grace we have been saved, not our own doing, so that nobody can boast about themselves.

And God isn’t done there. He not only raises us from the dead, but He also raises us up with Christ into the heavenly realms. We now have full access to the Father through Jesus because of this incredible act of love and mercy.

God provides us with something we didn’t deserve—new life—and then He doubles down on that new life by providing us a life beyond anything words can express.

Still it doesn’t end there. In the third part of the passage, Paul turns to our role in all of this. Up to this point, in many ways we are passive recipients of the gift. We were dead, we have been made alive, we were raised up—all are passive. The third part tells us what our part is going forward.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

What is our responsibility? To do good works. You see, good works do not provide us access to salvation; instead, it is a response to the reality of our salvation.

And even then, the good works are not something that we come up with, as if we can really ever bring anything to the table. These good works are the good works that God has prepared for us to do.

During the coming week, look at the lives of Augustine, Luther, Wesley, and Lewis and see this reality play itself out. Each felt the weight of their sin, experienced new life in Christ, and because of that new life, engaged in the good works that God prepared for them to do.

As you move forward this week, and as we look to December 25, take a moment to reflect on this three-fold reality in our lives.

Ask the Lord once again to reveal to you the depth of sin in your life and how you lay there dead in the midst of that sin.

Pray that He will remind you of how His great love sought you out and gave you a new life—an everlasting life.

And then seek His face to discover what acts of kindness, mercy, and goodness that He has prepared for you to do, perhaps even today.

Previous Article Next Article