How dead were we?

Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”.

A wealthy physician was the patron of my Boy Scout troop. His home was a gothic style stone manse on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River (Delhi, Ohio). He permitted our troop to maintain a camp on his property. His daughter, Connie, was a classmate of mine.

My first time viewing a corpse was when he died suddenly and our Boy Scout troop attended the viewing at their home.

My impressions were this:

  1. I was very sad for Connie
  2. It was clear to me that this man, who formerly was so involved with our troop activities, was inanimate: totally unable to hear, see, move, or think!
  3. A corpse cannot arise from his coffin.

The Scriptures state that before conversion we were dead. The Apostle Paul used the word νεκρός (think English prefix: “necro-” as in “necropolis”) to speak of that deadness. This is the same word used in by the Apostle John to speak of Lazarus’ condition (John 12:1, 9, &17: “Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead” (9))

To briefly answer my question, “how dead were we?”: without Christ one is spiritually dead to God. God spoke to Adam and said: “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17). Adam lived “nine hundred and thirty years” (Genesis 5:5), but he died spiritually on the day he disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit.

Adam, mankind’s head, represented us in the Garden of Eden. His sin has effected every one of his descendants (Romans 5:12-17):

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

How dead were we? These verses speak of that deadness:

  1. Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me”.
  2. John 5:21: “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will”
  3. John 3:19: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil”
  4. Romans 3:10-12: “As it is written: “ There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.””.
  5. 1 Corinthians 2:14: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
  6. 2 Corinthians 1:9: “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead”.
  7. Ephesians 2:12: “that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world”.
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