“And you were dead” These are the first 4 words written in the book of Ephesians chapter 2.
What a way to begin a story! I think about some of my favorite stories, books, and movies and I
can’t think of any where the main character starts off dead. On the contrary, the stories I enjoy
usually entail someone defying the odds, dodging death a thousand times, and winning
triumphantly in the end. Our story however, according to the author of Ephesians, is strikingly
different. And you were dead- We…were...dead- absolutely, positively, unquestionably
hopeless. What a bummer. Fortunately, the story gets better a lot better- but you probably
figured that by now, right? I mean, it sure can’t get any worse than dead. And that’s the point.
Because of the gruesomeness of Golgotha and the grief of the grave the gospel is good. In other
words, the story of a savior is only sweet to those in need of saving. Jesus promising life only
matters if you are experiencing death. The cure only becomes critical when our condition
becomes clear. So, the writer of Ephesians reminds us of our sobering state so that we might
look to a source higher than ourselves for salvation. But how do we look to anything or anyone
if we’re dead? Great question! We can’t! When I was dead, I didn’t know that I was dead. This
book is written to living people who once were dead but who are now alive. So how did we
come alive? Another terrific question! This is the ultimate plot twist. Jesus (God in the flesh)
was alive and died so that those who were dead might come alive. Wait, what? Yeah… I know.
He set aside His divinity and became like us so that we might set aside our depravity and
become like Him. Life, my friends… iIs a gift from God. The writer of Ephesians talks about this
thing called grace, that is God’s unmerited favor, and faith, that is the very substance of hope,
as a gift that God gives generously so that through the gift, we might exit the grave and enter
the game. How fascinating is that? If God saw fit to cause me to come alive by way of this
incredible gift, then I can rest well knowing that my life and afterlife are ultimately in His hands.
I can also rest well knowing that I am no better or worse than anyone else in the world ever and
that therefore I can love and relate to and empathize with everyone always because our
spiritual story all starts the same. And you were dead. I can’t make that up, I can’t mess that up.
I can only marvel in it. Sometimes we need a mirror to recognize a miracle.
Be encouraged today. You are a recipient of the greatest gift ever. Smile. Take a deep breath
and give thanks.