Christian, how were you saved? God Made You Alive
Before our conversion there was nothing in us to commend us to God, we were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. Not only that but we were worldly. Our life was governed by the plan or the mold of this world. This is humanity without God. We were also disobedient, we were willfully disobedient to the word of God. We were lost creatures. This manifested itself in physical and intellectual desires. By nature, by physical birth we were also damned, we were under God's wrath. But that was in time past. It was before we were saved that we were like that. But Christians are no longer dead (in sin), or worldly, or disobedient, or under wrath. You were that before conversion but it is all finished now.
But (you might say) "what about so and so, they profess Christ but they disobey Christ all the time. They don't have any spiritual hunger." There is one answer, that person was not truly converted. Ephesians 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Note the important words "in time past" A past completed action is now over and finished permanently, it doesn't happen anymore. If these things are not past then you are not converted. You can't be.
Christians before their conversion were in a terrible state and could do nothing to change it. Was there any hope? Is there any hope? If there is any hope it is not in you or me. There is not one shred of hope in humanity, not one. But there is hope and there was hope and we are going to find out about it.
But God: V4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us," the little word But means nevertheless, you were dead, you had no hope and you were much more, But God, nevertheless God, in spite of what you were, God. This the But of difference and the But of hope. But God.
Please note the verse does not say that you were dead, you were damned, "but human free will" does it? It doesn't say you were bound in sin "but a wee bit of religion" It doesn't say "but good works" It doesn't say "but human free will" because your will was a slave and a servant of sin before you were saved. Ephesians 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." Your will was not free. It doesn't say "but religion" because religion doesn't make any difference. It doesn't say "but good works" because before you were saved you didn't have any saving good works.. there is no good saving works before God. It doesn't say any of those things because it was nothing in us. It says that we were all those wretched things in V3 "Among whom also we all.....in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." But God. In spite of what you were, God did something. But God. Those two words are the difference between biblical Christianity and every other religion in the world.
Other religions always start with men or woman. When it comes to forgiveness and salvation, that is where they start. "But just put this wafer on your tongue and you will be all right" "But repeat these words after me." "But confess to the priest," "But come to the front and raise your hand". It is nothing to do with Christianity. "But do your penance." All these are humanity's ways to try and be saved but they are false. But God, not you or me, God. Biblical Christianity is not man-centered and no man could think it up. It is God centered. You can't do anything if you are dead, and you were dead in trespasses and sin. The origin of salvation in biblical Christianity is God and that makes it unique and different from every other religion.
Who is rich in mercy: V4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us." Who is - that is present tense. God who is presently, still, rich or abundant in mercy, that is kindness or goodwill. You were wretched and helpless but God did something. Why did he do something? V4 tells us..
For his great love: The reason why God looks upon you in mercy, is for of his great love. For this cause. God looks in mercy upon us for this cause, this is the channel or reason for mercy. Because of his great sacrificial love wherewith he loved us. God looked upon wretched sinners in mercy because of his great love. And that is the reason why he looks upon us in mercy. V4-5 God was merciful because he loved you. But God...
Quickens you from the dead: V5 "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" Even when we were dead in sin, God quickened us together with Christ, by grace you are saved. Christian, you were at the time dead in sin, but God quickened you, that is made you alive, together with Christ and that is a past completed action. When Jesus rose from the grave your new birth was guaranteed. It was certain. God made you alive from spiritual death. By grace you are saved. You were not worthy, but by grace you were saved. That is, God held back the judgment you deserved, and he gave you something you didn't deserve, and that is forgiveness of sins and spiritual life, and that is what grace means because your salvation is of pure grace.
What does all this teach? V1-5, Christian you had no hope, you had no free will, you had no goodness, you were dead in sin and could do nothing. But God looked upon you in kindness and mercy because he loved you and that is the reason and he quickened you. He gave you his holy spirit and made you spiritually alive in Christ by his undeserved favor. You didn't deserve any of it, but God made you alive, he gave you a new birth and now you are born again. Now you are saved. That word saved is a perfect tense. That means that it is an action that is completed in the past but it has continuous repercussions, continuous effect. It is totally complete in the past but that salvation has continuous effect. You are saved once for all but God is continually applying the consequences of that salvation to you. You are saved, and you are being saved. Hungry for spiritual food, wanting to know truth, wanting to read the bible. Spiritually Alive.
You who are reading or listening to this sermon, are you saved? Are you spiritually alive? have you turned from your sin? do you believe? If you do, and you have a spiritual hunger, you are a Christian. If you are not spiritually alive and you don't believe and you have not repented of your sin you are not a Christian.
If you see your need sinner, its a dire need, But God, he is your hope and don't let anyone replace those words by saying "oh yes you are in bad condition but religion" or "but by goodness" or "but you can have your own choice" or "but Christening, or "but confirmation" or "but you are in a Christian country" These are all false.. None of those buts. It's But God, God saves and there is no other hope. But nothing in us, But God saves. The God who loves you always has loved you and Christian, that is what saved you, that is the reason.
Why does he love you and me? We don't know, the bible doesn't tell us. God loved the unholy, he loved us when we were in spiritual darkness, when we were rebels. There is nothing good in us. Unbeliever, why would you want to try to escape this love? That is eternal love, without beginning and without end to his people. Trust in Christ if you don't already. Receive him. You can't do it without the spirit but do and be amazed. But God quickened you and made you alive.
"we are never nearer to Christ then when we find ourselves lost in amazement at his great love."
The above notes were made by myself from the sermon by Paul Dowling of Whiteabbey Congregational (Reformed) at Sermon Audio.