God’s power is demonstrated in my life! The overwhelming, indescribable power of God is on display as He brings me from spiritual death into life, from being shackled to the world to being bound to Him.
Ephesians 2.1-3 describes my sorry, sin-ridden state when it declares: “And you [He made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
As we previously looked at, there is a tremendous contrast going on between the life I am living now and what I once was. Paul says that I dead in sin, I lived a way of life that was according to (defined by) the world, I was under the dominion of darkness, I was a son of disobedience, I conducted myself in the desires and lusts of my flesh, and I was a child deserving the fieriest wrath.
These two words are perhaps the most glorious when seen in contrast with verses 1-3. Here in verse 4 Paul declares a marvelous truth: “But God …” God did not leave me where I was. I am not bound to be under the thumb of sin for life. There is an escape.
These two little words contain the seed of the Gospel. They show the contrast between the plan of the devil and God’s blueprint for mankind. They reveal the depth of man’s demise against the grandeur of God’s perfection.
You might ask: “Where is my part?” That too is good news. You don’t have a part! It is all Jesus. As you throw yourself upon His mercy and grace, He does the work! I live in surrender and dependence and He transforms my life.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …
A Rich Mercy
The word rich in our passage means: abundance, abounding, or something that cannot be contained. Mercy is underserved kindness, pardon, or good will.
The picture this paints is a king who bestows mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it. There is nothing within us that deserves the grace and mercy of our King, BUT GOD who is abounding with mercy gives us the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6.23).
A Great Love
This abundant mercy is seen in God’s love. The word love here is agape, which has often been termed “the God love.” This is the love that knows no bounds, it is never ending, you can spit upon it, beat it, nail it to a tree, and this love continues to pour forth.
This is the kind of love that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13 when he says that this love
- is patient
- is kind
- does not envy or boast
- not arrogant or rude
- does not insist on its own way
- is not irritable or resentful
- does not rejoice at wrongdoing
- rejoices with truth
- bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
- this love never ends
This overwhelming love was demonstrated when He made us alive together with Christ, even though we were dead in sin. God reached into our spiritual deadness and yanked us from death into life. Not just any kind of life, He gave us Himself, His life, eternal life.
Though we have perhaps heard it so much that it has lost its impact, John 3.16 says, “”For God [greatly] loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God is holy and nothing can approach Him that is unholy. Yet in our “dead in sin and trespasses” state, God loved us. He loved the very thing He shouldn’t have. The Holy One loved the unholy.
Perhaps this is a bad illustration but it would be similar to me loving a dead cockroach who has made its home in cow dung. I don’t merely love the dead cockroach but I give it life, my own life, and then bringing it out of the dung heap into the bounty of an endless banquet.
What great love has God loved us!
Do you realize that if you are truly a believer, you are no longer the same person you were before? The old is gone the new has come, says Paul in 2 Corinthians 5. You are a brand new creation. What you were before no longer defines you, you are a brand new person. You may look the same and go by the same name, but you are a transformed person.
So quit living in the garbage heap that you were before (Ephesians 2.1-3) and live in the “But God” reality as a new person who has experienced His love and mercy and have been completely transformed by His power.
What an incredible Saviour we serve.