“But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved– and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7, NRSV).
Before we dive in here, let’s just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this is, both Paul’s words and the sentiment. I was once asked by Dave, Abstract’s discipleship pastor, to sum up the Bible in one sentence, and I said, “The Bible is the Creator trying to capture the heart of His Creation,” and when I read this scripture, that idea comes to mind in a much more powerful way than it did when I said it. It would just irritate me later if I didn’t pause for a moment to reflect on how touching I find this scripture to be, so before I discuss how God’s love turns us into the undead, I want to comment on how spiritually filling and lovely these verses are.
Paul must have really understood how dead he was before he turned to Jesus because of the three weeks we’ve been in this series, I’ve felt led to use scripture that Paul wrote twice. And I can’t help but believe that Paul references this concept more than once of how God brings us to life spiritually because he really wants us to understand it too. To Paul, knowing this is the difference between eternal life and death, and he’s right.
Paul identifies our sin as what gives us a dead status. And he doesn’t say that we may have been dead or that some people were more dead than others. He gives us all the one status, with no variation or levels of sin. We were all dead.
Paul refers to himself elsewhere in scripture as “the chief of sinners,” yet Paul has no problem with telling everyone that we were just as dead as he was. Because Paul, evidently, understood something that is very difficult for most of us to fully grasp, and that is that the sort of sin and amount of sin doesn’t matter; sin is sin, and if we’ve got it, we’re dead.
And as we were all dead, we can all come alive through Christ.
And Paul is sure to say what it is that saves us, so we don’t read this and guess why and by what we’re saved. Paul says that it is by grace. Not by our well-intentioned deeds, not by how early or late in life we come to Christ, not by our own abilities. It is by Jesus’ grace.
Since we are all dead, regardless of what sins we’ve committed or how many they are, we all need grace. And the crazy thing: we always receive enough. No matter how thick and mucky your sin is, Jesus has more than enough grace to cover it. What you’ve done isn’t too much or too bad. He has grace upon grace upon grace to give.
And the best thing? It’s not just a one time exchange where Jesus says, “Ok. You good? I’ve got to run,” at the end. The best thing is that there is no end. We enter a relationship with him, and we have the honor of spending eternity with him, us sparkling examples of His love and grace. He takes us from perpetual death to rich, everlasting life.
I’m a zombie. Are you a zombie too?
I’ll not ask if you’ve been dead because I know the answer. If you’re human, you’ve been dead by Paul’s definition. But do you want to stay that way? Would you rather replace your sin with grace and enter into life abundant through Christ? What does death have to offer you that life does not? Wouldn’t you like to be a zombie?
By Carrie Prevette
P.S.– Here is a fantastic speech from The Walking Dead by Rick where he identifies the survivors as the zombies, saying that they can act as if they’re already dead in the current world so they can get to a new one where they get to live. It’s powerful, and I love it, and it makes me feel more sane for my comparison throughout this series.