Hopelessness runs rampant in our world today. This is not a new thing though. Hopeless people have lived on this earth since the beginning. Hope begins though with two little but emphatic words: But God.
The apostle Paul is speaking to believers of their former state outside of the grace of God in Ephesians 2:1-3.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.”
Outside of Christ you are:
1. Dead in your trespasses and sins
2. Walking according to the ways of this world, according to satan and his demons.
3. Living among the disobedient in your fleshly desires
4. Carrying out the inclination of your flesh and thoughts
5. By nature, Children of wrath.
You live in a hopeless state. You are dead and you live according to ways of this world, according to the rule of a demonic power and corruption. You cannot make yourself alive. This is just as true for the man or woman who goes to church every time the door is open and does not see their need for Christ, as it is for a murdering serial rapist.
Not only are you an evil person, corrupt in all your way living among an evil and corrupt world, you are children of wrath. You were born this way, separated from God by your sin, not able to do any good. You are corrupt outside of Christ. The Bible likens your good works outside of Him to filthy rags, or better translated menstrual rags (Isaiah 64:6). Your good works are so disgusting to God because you are trying to as a dead man or woman bring life to yourself. A dead person is totally dead, unable to do anything.
Do you see your state of being? You are dead. You are corrupt. You are hopeless.
Thank goodness this is not the end of the story. Hope has come. Life has come. You are holy in Him.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7)
Hope. Purpose. Life. It is right here. It is right here and only here. BUT GOD.
God sees our corruptness, wickedness, and perversion. The disney slogan to trust your heart is bogus because as Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is wicked “above all else.” You can’t trust your own intuitions. You can’t trust what your heart says is truth. The only truth comes from God.
God saved us. It doesn’t say “but human.” It doesn’t say “but good works.” It doesn’t say “but my own way” or but anything else. It says clearly BUT GOD. He has done the work. Yes that’s right. It has already been done.
What has He done and why?
1. He has made us alive with the Messiah because of His great love and His richness of mercy (vs. 4).
2. He has raised us up and seated us in the heavens so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus (vs. 6-7).
Do you get it? God did all this, not you. God brings life, not you. You are dead and you will stay dead unless you recognize your hopelessness without Him and repent of your sins and turn to Him for the work that has already been done in Christ Jesus on the cross.
This little phrase sticks out to me: even though you were dead in your trespasses. God recognized our dead state. He had no reason to save us. He could have left us and been justified in doing it because He is infinitely holy and we are infinitely wicked. God did all this despite us being dead.
You think you have something to offer God? You are dead. Dead people can offer nothing. You have no use of your limbs. You have no use of your organs. You will not live until you recognize that you are dead.
And this is amazing! Because when you recognize that you are dead, you come into full recognition of His grace and that you can offer God nothing. And when His grace makes you alive, you live for the first time. You awaken a dead man and that dead man is alive and moving and breathing. This is grace!
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
And you were dead….BUT GOD.