In our passage today, Paul tells an upside-down story. In an ordinary biography, the author begins by telling when the subject was born. We read about how the person grew up and note the key accomplishments. Finally, we learn how and when the person died. Here, Paul tells our story, but it is told in reverse. We were dead in sin but have been made alive in Christ (vv. 1, 5).
There is no in-between. If you are not made alive in Christ, you are “dead in your transgressions and sins” (v. 1). Those who are dead in transgressions and sins do not operate under God’s guidelines. They follow their own desires and satisfy their own cravings. Whether they realize it or not, they follow “the ruler of the kingdom of the air,” which is the Devil or Satan. In this condition, we deserve God’s wrath. We are cut off from Him and spiritually dead.
Can the dead rescue themselves? Certainly not! Paul describes the incredible gift of God, a miracle that brings to life what was dead. While we were still dead, God loved us and made us alive in Christ. This removes any notion that we can earn our salvation or do anything to make God think we are worthy. Twice in this passage Paul declares, “it is by grace you have been saved” (vv. 5, 8).
Giving credit to God means realizing we are not in control of our own destiny. God loved us when we were still dead in our sins. He paid the penalty and raised us with Christ. It is only because of this transforming gift that we, who have been given life, can do good works through God’s power.
When you accept Christ as your Savior, you are a miracle! You have been brought to life! Today, thank God for His incredible gift. And if you have never accepted this gift, do so today. As we reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and His glorious resurrection, thank God that He willingly paid the penalty for our sin.