“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions…” Ephesians 2:4-5
Human beings are made up of three parts. The first part, the body, is the physical vehicle we feed, dress, wash and put to bed at night. Next is the soul, the life that inhabits our body and contains the components of our personalities: our mind, will and emotions. We experience physical death when our souls are separated from our bodies.
The third part, and what makes us distinct from animals, is that we have a spirit, a capacity to ask questions animals never ask. Cows do not look to the sky and wonder if there is milk on Mars. It is only humans that ask questions like, “Where did I come from? Where am I going? What is the meaning of life?” Solomon describes this as God placing “eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). It is not a question of intelligence but capacity. God created us to live indwelt by His Spirit and with the capacity to know, enjoy and experience Him.
When Paul writes to the Ephesians, he gives a sort of spiritual biography that says we are dead in our transgressions before we receive Christ. This does not refer to a physical but spiritual death. The moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God, He withdrew His Spirit from them. Although they remained physically alive, they became spiritually dead. To borrow Paul’s language, they became “separated from the life of God” (Ephesians 4:18), which is the hereditary condition we are all born into.
Paul writes in the present tense, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). He does not mean that we will die one day, though we will, but that we are born spiritually dead, separated from God. We retain our spiritual capacity to ask questions about life, the universe and God, yet we lack spiritual life. But just as sin and spiritual death are a present tense problem, Christ is the present tense solution. He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die” (John 11:25).
Our first need is not that we are guilty and need forgiving but that we are dead and need raising. John writes, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). God’s means of raising us is Christ, and His means of imparting spiritual life to us is imparting Christ. Though we are born spiritually dead, this need not remain our present circumstance. When we believe in Christ, we are raised to life with Him, restored to fellowship with God and find our spiritual capacity being fulfilled.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to raise believers to life. Work in the lives of others I know so they will ask the questions that reveal You as the solution to their spiritual death.