Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spiritually dead

This morning, I'm preaching on Ephesians 2:1-6 (tonight, we'll take up 2:7-10) on the theme of grace. My first point is to talk through what it means to be "dead in the trespasses and sins": namely, as those ruined by sin, we are unable to see and savor spiritual things. Our worldview is limited to the material and sensual, to this world.

I ran across this little testimony from the New York Times Magazine that illustrates this perfectly (but to which I won't have time to refer in my sermon). Written by a novelist, Dana Tierney, it depicts the inability of an individual in their natural condition, ruined by sin, captive to the course of the world, to see beyond this world. She writes, "My friends and relatives who rely on God -- the real believers, not just the churchgoers -- have an expansiveness of spirit. When they walk along a stream, they don't just see water falling over rocks; the sight fills them with ecstasy. They see a realm of hope beyond this world. I just see a babbling brook. I don't get the message."

Ultimately, the only one who can get in people's hearts and open their eyes so that they are able to see, truly see, is God himself. That is Paul's point in 2:4-6--without God, without grace, we are unable to see the excellency of Christ or his way of salvation. But when God acts to make us alive with Christ, raise us with him, and seat us in the heavenlies, when God grants us faith as a gift, when God saves us, then we can see.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see!"

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