In his letter to the believers in Ephesus, Paul describes our condition before Christ came. We were dead, disobedient, living in sin, controlled by the spirit who even now is at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. And, with that nature of sin, we lived constantly subject to God’s anger.
“But God…” Beginning with these two words, what an incredible story of love, mercy, power, and grace unfolds!
“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” Ephesians 2:4,5 NLT
If we are ever tempted to think that our present standing in God’s favor, our hope of eternal life with Him forever, is in any way the result of our own works, we should perhaps visit a cemetery. However nice the headstones may be, whatever list of accomplishments and eulogies may be chiseled into the stone, the folks underneath are now dead– completely powerless to do anything, change anything, make anything.
And that was God’s judgment of us, just as it is His judgment of all sinners– dead in sin. Only Life Himself can raise the raise the dead; without Him, we are totally hopeless.
But God… God, Life Himself, Who has the power to raise the dead– God is rich in Mercy, rich in Love, rich in Grace. Because, and only because, of the fullness of His mercy and love, He raised us from the dead. When He shook death and hell to their very foundations and raised Jesus Christ from the dead, He opened the door to life for us, raising us with Christ.
By Grace, we have been saved. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. “Grace, Grace, God’s Grace, Grace that is greater than all my sins.” Only Grace.