2267. Life From The Dead

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No. 2267-38:361. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, March 13, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, July 31, 1892.

And he has you made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. {Eph 2:1}

For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 127, “Spiritual Resurrection” 122}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2267, “Life from the Dead” 2268}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2388, “Once Dead, Now Alive” 2389}
   Exposition on Eph 1:1-2:1 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3429, “Accepted in the Beloved” 3431 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Eph 2; Mt 11:1-6 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3389, “Soul’s Awakening, The” 3391 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Eph 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2267, “Life from the Dead” 2268 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Eph 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2770, “Go in Peace” 2771 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Eph 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2841, “Prayer — Its Discouragements and Encouragements” 2842 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Eph 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3198, “What Christians Were and Are” 3199 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Eph 2 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3474, “Blessings Many and Marvellous” 3476 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Our translators, as you observe, have put in the words “he has made alive,” because Paul had thrown the sense a little further on, and it was possible for the reader not to catch it. They have only anticipated the statement of the fourth and fifth verses: “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ.”

2. Here is the point. God has made us alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, spiritually dead. We were full of vigour towards everything which was contrary to the law or the holiness of God, we walked according to the course of this world; but as for anything spiritual, we were not only somewhat incapable, and somewhat weakened; but we were actually and absolutely dead. We had no sense with which to comprehend spiritual things. We had neither the eye that could see, nor the ear that could hear, nor the power that could feel.

3. We were dead, all of us; and yet we were not all like one another. Death may be universal over a certain number of bodies, and yet those bodies may look very different. The dead who lie on the battle-field, torn by dogs or kites, rotting, corrupting in the sun, what a horrible sight! Your recently departed one, lying in the coffin, how beautiful! The corpse still looks life-like; yet your beloved one in the coffin is as dead as the mangled bodies on the battle-field. Corruption has not yet done its work, and tender care has guarded the body as yet from what will surely come to it; yet there is death, sure, complete death, in the one case as well as in the other.

4. So we have many who are lovely, amiable, morally admirable, like him whom the Saviour looked upon and loved; yet they are dead for all that. We have others who are drunken, profane, unchaste; they are dead, not more dead than the others; but their death has left its terrible traces more plainly visible. Sin produces death, and death produces corruption. Whether we were corrupt or not, is not a question that I need to raise here; let everyone judge concerning himself. But dead we were, most certainly. Even though trained by godly parents, though well instructed in the gospel scheme, though saturated with the piety that surrounded us, we were dead, as dead as the prostitute of the street, as dead as the thief in the jail.

5. Now, the text tells us that, though we were dead, yet Christ has come, and by his Spirit he has raised us out of the grave. This text brings us Easter tidings; it sings of resurrection; it sounds in our ear the trumpet of a new life, and introduces us into a world of joy and gladness. We were dead; but we are made alive by the Spirit of God. I cannot help stopping for a minute to know whether it is so with you, my dear hearers, and praying that what I might have to say may act as a kind of sieve, separating between the really living and those who only think that they are alive, so that, if you have not been made alive, if you are only “a child of nature, finely dressed,” but not spiritually alive, you may be made aware of it. If you have been made alive, even though your life is feeble, you may cry to the living God with the “Abba, Father,” which never comes from any lip except what has been touched and made alive by the Holy Spirit.

6. I. First, let us talk a little about OUR BEING MADE ALIVE. You who have been made alive will understand what I say. To those who have not been, I daresay it will seem as an idle tale.

7. Well, dear friends, if we have been made alive, we have been made alive from above. “He has made you alive.” God himself has had dealings with us. He has raised us from the dead. He made us at the first; he has made us anew. He gave us life when we were born; but now he has given us a higher life, which could not be found anywhere else. He must always give it. No man ever made himself to live. No preacher, however earnest, can make one hearer to live. No parent, however prayerful, no teacher, however tearful, can make a child alive to God. “He has made you alive,” is true of all who are made alive. It is a divine spark, a light from the great central Sun of light, the great Father of Lights. Is it so with us? Have we had a divine touch, a superhuman energy, a something which all the learning and all the wisdom and all the godliness of man could never work in us? Have we been made alive from above? If so, I daresay that we remember something about it. We cannot describe it; no man can describe his first birth; it remains a mystery. Neither can he describe his new birth; that is still a greater mystery, for it is a secret inward work of the Holy Spirit, of which we feel the effect, but we cannot tell how it is accomplished.

8. I think that, usually, when the divine life comes, the first consciousness that we get of being made alive is a sense of pain. I have heard that when a man is nearly drowned, while he lies under the power of death, he feels little or nothing, perhaps even has pleasurable dreams; but when, in the process of restoring him, they have rubbed him until the blood begins to flow, and the life begins to revive a little, he is conscious of pricking and great pain. One of the signs that life is coming back to him is, that he wakes up out of a pleasant sleep, and feels pain. Whether it is so or not with every person restored from drowning, I do not know; but I think that it is so with every person restored from drowning in the river of sin. When the life begins to come to him, he feels as he never felt before; sin that was pleasant becomes a horror to him. What was easy to him becomes a bed of thorns. Thank God, dear hearer, if you have living pangs. It is an awful thing to have your conscience hardened, as in the very fires of hell, until it becomes like steel. To have consciousness is a great mercy, even if it is only painful consciousness, and every movement of life within seems to harrow up your soul. This divine life usually begins with pain.

9. Then, everything surprises you. If a person had never lived before, and had come into life a full-grown man, everything would be as strange to him as it is to a little child; and everything is strange to a new-born man in the spiritual realm into which he is born. He is startled a hundred times. Sin appears as sin; he cannot understand it. He had looked at sin before, but had never seen it to be sin. And Christ appears now so glorious to him; he had heard of Christ before, and had some apprehensions of him; but now he is surprised to find that the One whom he said had no form nor beauty is, after all, altogether lovely. To the new-born soul everything is a surprise. He makes no end of blunders; he makes many miscalculations because everything is new to him. He who sits upon the throne says, “Behold, I make all things new”; and the renewed man says, “My Lord, it is even so.” One said to me, when joining the church, “Either I am a new creature, or else the world is altogether altered from what it was. There is a change somewhere”; and that change is from death to life, from darkness into God’s marvellous light.

10. Now, just as life comes with strange surprises, and mingled with pain, so, dear friends, it comes often with many questions. The child has a thousand things to ask; he has to learn everything. We little think of the experiments that children have to go through before they arrive even at the use of their eyes. They do not know that things are at a distance; they have to learn that fact by looking many times. As long as the object falls upon the retina, the child is not aware of whether it is distant or a near object until some time later. What you think that you and I knew from our birth, we did not know; we had to learn it. And when a man is born into the kingdom of God, he has to learn everything; and consequently, if he is wise, he questions older and wiser believers about this and about that. You who are instructed, and have become fathers, please never laugh at babes in grace, if they ask you the most absurd questions. Encourage them to do so; let them tell you their difficulties. You, by God’s grace are a man; this little one is only a new-born babe; hear what he has to say. You mothers, do this with your little children. You are interested, you are pleased, you are amused, with what they say. So instructed saints ought to deal with those who have been newly-made alive. They come to us, and ask, “What is this? What is that? What is the other?” It is a time of asking, a time of enquiring. It is good, also, if it is a time of sitting at Jesus’ feet, for there is no other place so safe for a new-born believer as the feet of Jesus. If he gets to the feet of anyone else, he is apt to get poorly instructed at a time when everything warps his judgment, when he is extremely impressionable, and not likely to forget the mistakes that he has made, if he has borrowed them from others. So you see what the divine life does when it comes into the soul. It comes to us with pain; it gives us many surprises; and it suggests a large number of questions.

11. We begin then to make a great many attempts at things which we never attempted before. The new-born child of God is just like the new-born child of man in some things; and after a time that child begins to walk. No, he does not; he begins to crawl; he does not walk at first. He creeps along, pleased to make any kind of progress; and when he gets up on his little feet, he moves from one chair to another, trembling at every step he takes, and presently, down he goes. But he gets up again, and so he learns to walk. Do you remember when the new life came into you? I do. I remember the first week of that new life, and how, on the second Sabbath, I went to the place where I had heard the gospel to my soul’s salvation, thinking that I would attend there. But, during that week, I had made many experiments, and tumbled down a great many times, and the preacher took for his text, “Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” I thought, “Yes; I know all about that; that is my case.” When the preacher said that Paul was not a Christian when he wrote those words, though I was only seven days old in divine things, I knew better than that, so I never went there any more. I knew that only a Christian could ever or would ever cry out against sin with that bitter wail; and that, if the grace of God was not with him, he would rest satisfied and contented; but that, if he felt that sin was a horrible thing, and he was a wretched man because of it, and must be delivered from it, then he surely must be a child of God, especially if he could add, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

12. Beloved, we make many mistakes, and we shall continue to do so. At the same time, we learn by our experiments. You remember when you began to pray; would you like to have your first prayer printed? I believe that God liked it better than many of the collects. {a} You might not like it so well; it would not look well in print. You remember when you first began to confess Christ to a friend. Oh, you stuttered and stammered over it! There were more tears than words; it was not a “dry” discourse; you wetted it well with tears of grief and anxiety. That was the new life using powers with which it was not itself acquainted; and I believe that there are some of God’s children who have powers that they will never find unless they try to use them. I should like some of you young men who do not pray at the prayer meeting to make a start. And some of you older men, perhaps, have never preached yet; but you might if you tried; I wish you would. “I should break down,” one says. I wish you would. A break-down sermon that breaks the preacher down, might break the people down, too. There might be many advantages about that kind of discourse.

13. This, then, was the way in which the new life, spiritual life, came into us. We did not know what it was when it came; we had never felt like that before; we could not think that we really had passed from death to life; and yet, in looking back, we are persuaded that the throes within, the anguish of heart, the longing, and the pleading, and the wrestling, and the crying, would never have been in a dead heart, but were the sure marks that God had made us alive, and we had passed into newness of life.

14. II. Now, secondly, let us think of OUR PRESENT LIFE. “He has made you alive.” Well, then, we have a new life. What is the effect of this life on us? I speak to you who are made alive by grace.

15. Well, first, we have become now sentient towards God. The unconverted man lives in God’s world, sees God’s works, hears God’s Word, goes up to God’s house on God’s day, and yet he does not know that there is any God. Perhaps he believes that there is, because he was brought up to believe it; but he is not cognizant of God; God has not entered into him; he has not come into contact with God. Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, I think that you and I can say, that to us the most certain fact in all the world is that there is a God. No God? I live in him. Tell a fish in the sea there is no water. No God? I live by him. Tell a man who is breathing that there is no air. No God? I dare not come downstairs without speaking to him. No God? I would not think of closing my eyes in sleep unless I had some sense of his love shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit. “Oh!” one says, “I have lived for fifty years, and I have never felt anything of God.” Rather say that you had been dead for fifty years; that is nearer to the mark. But if you had been made alive by the Holy Spirit fifty minutes, this would have been the first fact in the front rank of all facts, God is, and he is my Father, and I am his child. Now you become sentient to his frown, his smile, his threat, or his promise. You feel him; his presence is photographed upon your spirit; your very heart trembles with awe of him, and you say with Jacob, “Surely God is in this place.” That is one result of spiritual life.

16. Now you have become also sympathetic with similar life in others. You have a wide range for the life of God, his life in his new-born child is the same life that is in every Christian. It is the same life in the new-born believer as in those bright spirits who stand before the throne of God. The life of Christ, the life of God, is infused into us in that moment when we are made alive from our death in sin. What a wonderful thing it is to have become sympathetic with God! What he desires, we desire. His glory is the first object of our being. He loves his Son, and we love his Son. We desire to see his kingdom come just as he does, and we pray for his will to be done on earth, even as it is in heaven. We wish that death did not remain, the old nature hampering us; but, in proportion as the new life is really in us, we now run parallel with God. The holiness which he delights in we aspire after. Not with equal footsteps, but with tottering gait, we follow in that very same path that God has marked out for himself. “My soul follows close after you; your right hand upholds me.”

17. The new life that made us sympathetic with God, and holy angels, and holy men, and with everything that is from above, has also made us capable of great pleasure. Life is usually capable of pleasure, but the new life is capable of the highest conceivable pleasure. I am certain that no ungodly man has any conception of the joy which often fills the believer’s spirit. If worldlings could only know the bliss of living near to God, and of basking in the light of his countenance, they would throw their wealth into the sea, and ten thousand times as much, if they might only get a glimpse of this joy that can never be bought, but which God gives to all who trust his dear Son. We are not always the same. Alas! We are very changeable; but when God is with us, when the days are spiritually bright and long, and we have come into the midsummer of our heavenly bliss, we would not change places with the angels, knowing that eventually we shall be nearer to the throne than they are; and, while they are God’s honoured servants, yet they are not beloved sons as we are. Oh, the thrill of joy that has sometimes gone through our spirits! We could almost have died with delight at times when we have realised the glorious things that God has prepared for those who love him. This joy we never knew until we received the new life.

18. But I must add that we are also capable of acute pain to which we were strangers once. God has made our conscience tender as the apple of the eye; he has made our soul as sensitive as a raw wound, so that the very shadow of sin falling on the believer’s heart will cause him great pain; and, if he does go into the actual sin, then, like David, he talks about his bones being broken, and it is not too strong a metaphor for the sorrow that comes upon the believing heart when sin has been committed, and God has been grieved. The heart itself then, is broken, and bleeds at ten thousand wounds. Yet this is one of the results of our possessing the new life; and I will say this, the sharpest pang of spiritual life is better than the highest joy of carnal life. When the believer is at his worst, he is better than the unbeliever at his best; his reasons for happiness are always transcendently above all the reasons for joy that worldlings can never know.

19. Now, dear friends, if we have received spiritual life, you see what a range of being we have, how we can rise up to the seventh heaven or sink down into the abyss. This new life makes us capable of walking with God; that is a grand thing. We speak of Enoch walking with God, and we look at the holiness of his life; but did anyone ever think of the majesty of his life? How does God walk? It needs a Milton to conceive of the walk of God; but he who has the divine life walks with God; and sometimes he seems to step from Alp to Alp, from sea and ocean, accomplishing what, unaided, he would never even attempt. He who has the divine life is lifted up into the infinities; he gets to hear what cannot be heard, and see what cannot be seen, for “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit,” when he has given us the new life.

20. One effect of this divine life is to put life into everything that we do. They tell me that “creeds are dead.” Yes, yes! It is a pleasant thing to hear an honest confession; they are dead to dead men. To me, what I believe is not dead; it is a part of myself. I hold nothing as truth that I can put away on a shelf, and leave there. My creed is part of my being. I believe it to be true; and believing it to be true, I feel its living force upon my nature every day. When a man tells you that his creed is a dead thing, do not deny it for a minute; there is no doubt of the fact. He knows about himself better than you do. Oh, dear friends, let us never have a dead creed! What you believe, you must believe up to the hilt; believe it livingly, believe it really, for that is not believed at all which is only believed in the letter, but is not felt in the power of it.

21. If you have been made alive by the Spirit of God, your prayers are living prayers. Oh, the many dead prayers that are heard at the bedside; so many good words rushed through at a gallop! He who is alive to God asks for what he needs, and believes that he shall have it, and he gets it. That is living prayer. Beware of dead prayers; they are a mockery to the Most High. I do not think that a living man can always pray by clockwork, at such a time and such a time. It would be something like the minister’s sermon which he “got up” beforehand, and upon which he wrote in the margin “weep here,” “here you must show great emotion.” Of course that was all rubbish; it cannot be done to order. You cannot resolve to “groan at one o’clock, and weep at three o’clock.” Life will not be bound like that, I love to have an appointed time for prayer, and woe to the man who does not have his time for prayer! But, at the same time, our living prayer bursts out hours before the appointed time, or sometimes it will not come at the time. You have to wait until another time, and then your soul is like a hind let loose. Why, sometimes we can pray, and prevail, and come off conquerors; and at another time, we can only bow at the throne, and groan out, “Lord, help me; I cannot pray; the springs seem to be all sealed.” That is the result of life. Living things change. There are some personages in St. Paul’s Cathedral; I have not seen them recently, but I have seen them. When I lived in the country, I came up to look at the notabilities in St. Paul’s Cathedral. I have heard that they have never had a headache during the last hundred years, and no rheumatic pains, nor have they been troubled with the gout. The reason is that they are cut in marble, and they are dead; but a living man feels the fog and the winds; he knows whether it is an east wind or a west wind that is blowing. Before he gets up in the morning, he begins to feel sometimes lively and sometimes dull; he does not understand himself. Sometimes he feels merry, and can sing hymns; at another time, he can do nothing else but sigh and cry, though he scarcely knows why. Yes, life is a strange thing; and if you have the life of God in your soul, you will undergo many changes, and not always be what you want to be.

22. If we are alive to God, every part of our worship should be living. What a great deal of dead worship there is! If we go on with our services in regular routine, a large number of our friends find it difficult to keep awake. I fear that some people go to a place of worship because they get a better sleep there than anywhere else. That is not worship which consists in doing as Hodge did, when he said, “I like Sunday, for then I can go to church, and put my legs up, and think of nothing at all.” That is all the worship a great many render to God, just getting to a place of worship, and there sitting still, and thinking of nothing at all. But if you are a living child of God, you cannot do that. If, sometimes, through the infirmity of the flesh, you fall into that state of slumber, you loathe yourselves for it, but you rouse yourself up, and say, “I must worship my God; I must sing, I must praise God. I must draw near to him in prayer.”

23. III. I must come to my third point; for our time flies. Notice what OUR PRESENT POSITION is, if God has made us alive.

24. Our present position is this, first, that we are raised from the dead. “He has made us alive together with Christ, and has raised us up together.” We cannot live where we used to live. We cannot wear what we used to wear. There is no one here who would like to go and live in a grave. If you have been raised from the dead, after you had been buried in Norwood Cemetery, I would warrant you that you would not go there tonight to sleep. So the man, who has once been raised by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, forsakes the dead; his old company does not suit him. If you had been raised from the dead, and had come out of your tomb, you would not go around London’s streets with your shroud on. You are a living man. How is it that I find some who say they are people of God; but yet are rather fond of wearing their grave-clothes? I mean, that they like the amusements of the world; they like to put on their shroud sometimes just for a treat. Oh, do not do so! If God has made you to live, come away from the dead; come away from their habits, and manners and customs. Life sees no charm in death. The living child of God likes to get as far as ever he can away from the death that once held him bound. “ ‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and do not touch the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” That is the first part of our position, that we have come to live a separate life now, and have abandoned the path we trod before.

25. Next to that, we are one with Christ. He has “made us alive together with Christ, and has raised us up together.” I told you just now that the life which the Holy Spirit gives us when we are born again, is the life of God. We are made partakers of the divine nature, of course, in a modified sense, but still in a true sense. The life everlasting, the life that can never die, is put into us then, even as Christ said, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The believer’s life is the life of Christ in the believer. “Because I live, you shall live also.” What a mystical union there is between the believer and his Lord! Comprehend that; believe in it; rejoice in it; triumph in it. Christ and you are one now, and you are made to live together with him. May God grant you to know the joy of this condition!

26. Once more, we are told, “He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” That is very wonderful. We have not only left the dead, and become joined to Christ, but we are made to sit in heaven with Christ. A man is in the same place where his head is, is he not? and every believer is in the same place where his Head is; and if we are members of Christ’s body, we are in heaven. It is a very blessed experience to be able to walk on earth, and look up to heaven; but it is a higher experience to live in heaven, and look down on the earth; and this is what the believer may do. HE may sit in the heavenlies; Christ is there as his Representative. The believer may take possession of what his Representative is holding on his behalf. Oh, to live in heaven, to dwell there, to let the heart be caught up from this poor life into the life that is above! This is the place where we should be, where we may be if we are made alive by the divine life.

27. One thing more, and I am finished. We are in this position, that God is now working in us, through this divine life, to make us the most wonderful reflectors of his grace that he has yet formed. He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, “that in the ages to come he might show the great riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.” The ages to come will have for their wonder the children of God who were made alive. When God made the world, it was a wonder, and the angels came from afar to see his handiwork. But when Christ makes the new creation, they will say no more that God made the heaven and the earth, but they will say in higher strains, “He made these new-born men and women. He made for them, and in them, new heavens and a new earth.”

28. Ah! beloved, “It does not yet appear what we shall be.” God has given us a life that is more precious than the Koh-i-noor, {b} a life that will outlast the sun and moon. When all things that are shall be like old ocean’s foam, which dissolves into the wave that bears it, and is gone for ever; we shall still live, and we shall live in Christ, and with Christ, glorified for ever. When the moon has become black as sackcloth of hair, the life that is within us shall be as bright as when God first gave it to us. You have the dew of your youth, oh child of God; and you shall have even more of it, and be like your Lord, when he shall take you away from every trace of death, and the corrupt atmosphere of this poor world, and you shall dwell with the living God in the land of the living, for ever and for ever!

29. The practical outcome of all this is, that some of you do not know anything at all about it. If you do not, let the fact impress you. If there is a divine life to which you are a stranger, how long will you be a stranger to it? If there is a spiritual death, and you are dead, be startled; for within a little while God will say, “Bury my dead out of my sight.” And what will happen to you when the word of God is, “Depart, depart, depart, depart,” and to the graveyard of souls, to the fire that never shall be quenched, you and the rest of the dead are taken away? “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,” and, unless we are made alive to him, he cannot be our God either here or hereafter. May the Lord impress this solemn truth on all your hearts by his own Spirit; for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

{a} Collects: Liturgical. A name given to “a comparatively short prayer, more or less condensed in form, and aiming at a single point, or at two points closely connected with each other,” one or more of which, according to the occasion and season, have been used in the public worship of the Western Church from an early date. Applied particularly to the prayer, which varies with the day, week, or octave, said before the Epistle in the Mass or Eucharistic service, and in the Anglican service also in Morning and Evening Prayer, called for distinction the collect of the day. OED.
{b} Koh-i-noor: An Indian diamond, famous for its size and history, which became one of the British Crown jewels on the annexation of the Punjaub in 1849. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Eph 2}

1. And he has made you alive,

Is it so? Could the apostle say that to you, and to me?

1. Who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Look back to what you used to be, to the hole of the pit from where you were dug: “He has you made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”

2. When in time past you walked

With a terrible activity of spiritual death;

2. According to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:

He makes them to be his forge. There he blows his coals, there he fabricates his instruments. Do you not hear the noise of the infernal bellows when “the children of disobedience” swear, and use unclean language? Ah, such were some of us; but we are cleansed! The evil spirit has been driven out, and he no more works in us.

3. Among whom also we all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

You who now commune with God at the mercy seat, you who are now his favoured children, and have received power to become the sons of God, you were once heirs of wrath: “By nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Holy Scripture is not complimentary to unrenewed human nature. You may search it through and through to find a single flattering word to unregenerate man; but you will search in vain. This style of speech is left to those who scorn divine inspiration. They draw their inspiration from another fount, from a desire to walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. They can use flattering speeches in addressing the ungodly; but the Holy Spirit never does.

4, 5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,

God loved us even when we were dead in sins. His love does not depend on what we are; it flows from his own heart. It is not love of something good in us; it is love for us because of everything good in him. Here you see the greatness of his grace, in that “he loved us, even when we were dead in sins.”

5. Has made us alive together with Christ,

Ah! That accounts for everything: “together with Christ.” When we get “together with Christ,” then we are made alive, then we are saved. Are you, my dear hearers, “made alive together with Christ?”

5-7. (By grace you are saved;) and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the great riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.

See how Paul’s language grows and swells and rises as he proceeds! Just now, we read of “God, who is rich in mercy”; now the apostle speaks of “the great riches of his grace,” great expression, great comprehension, greater than even sin itself, though that is all but infinite. “The great riches of his grace” are infinity itself; but they all come to us “through Christ Jesus.” Paul will speak of nothing good except what comes “through Christ Jesus.” This is the one conduit-pipe through which the streams of living water flow to the dead in sin; God’s grace comes to us “through Christ Jesus,” and through him alone.

8. For you are saved by grace through faith;

We have this expression, “you are saved by grace,” twice over in this chapter. Paul knew that he needed to repeat himself, or people would forget what he taught. Behind all the wanderings from the faith at the present day is this, salvation by works instead of salvation by grace. The battle of the Reformation has to be fought over again. Men are justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. All the enmity of natural men is against that truth. They want to be saved by their own morality, and all kinds of things that they place instead of salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

8, 9. And that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

“Oh!” one said to me just now, “the man who is saved by his own righteousness cannot do much in the line of praising.” “No, my dear brother,” I replied, “except he praises himself, and he can generally do that pretty well.” Your self-made man usually worships his creator very earnestly; and your self-saved man glorifies him who saved him.

10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

Nothing without Christ Jesus, you see. The mark of the pierced hand is on everything: “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.”

10. To good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

God has decreed that he will have a holy people. This is his purpose, his ordinance, to which he will always stand. He will make it good. He will make sinful people holy, and disobedient people obedient to the faith.

11. Therefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by those who are called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Remember what you were. You were not the chosen Israelites, you do not have the covenant mark in your flesh.

12. That at that time you were without Christ,

Which is the worst state of all, far worse than being without circumcision.

12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,

Outsiders, rank outsiders, far away from any rights, or any participation in the rights of God’s children.

12. And strangers from the covenants of promise,

Utter strangers to the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

12. Having no hope, and without God in the world:

It is an awful description, but a truthful description, of what we were.

13. But now

The apostle has turned over a new leaf in the book of our history: “but now.” Oh, what a change from the past to the present! “But now” —

13. In Christ Jesus

See how Paul keeps harping on that one string. Note how he links us with Christ Jesus. There is nothing for us without Christ and his cross.

13. You who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.

Paul can never have too much of Christ. It is Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ; like the harp of Anacreon. {c} He wished to sing of Cadmus; but his harp resounded love alone; and so the harp of Paul resounds with Christ alone, Christ alone. He always comes back to that theme. It was said of one eminent commentator that he could not find Christ in the Scripture where he was; but it was said of Cocceius that he found Christ where he was not. I would rather find Christ where he is not, than not to find him where he is. There are plenty who err in that second direction nowadays.

14. For he is our peace,

Paul cannot do without Christ, you see. He will bring him in everywhere.

14. Who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

There is no longer the division between Jews and Gentiles.

15. Having abolished in his flesh

See, it is always Christ, his flesh, his blood, his life. There must always be something about him: “Having abolished in his flesh.”

15, 16. The enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace; and that he

I cannot help reminding you, that you must not overlook the fact that Paul will not go a hair’s breadth away from Christ.

16-18. Might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity by it: and came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near. For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

There is the whole Trinity in that verse, Christ, the Spirit, the Father. It needs the Trinity to make a Christian, and when you have gotten a Christian, it needs the Trinity to make a prayer. You cannot pray a single prayer properly without Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

19. Now therefore

Another of Paul’s blessed “nows.” It was “but now” a little while ago; now he has another “now.” “Now therefore” —

19. You are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

You are not only in the kingdom, but you are in the royal household, which is even better. You are princes of the blood imperial. You are peers of the court of heaven: “and the household of God.”

20. And are built

You are not loose stones; you are built —

20, 21. Upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom

You see, it is always that, in him, in Christ: “in whom” —

21. All the building fitly framed together grows into a holy temple in the Lord:

There is no church without Christ, no temple without him as its corner-stone, its priest, its glory.

22. In whom you also are built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

And all this hangs upon that first sentence, “He has made you alive.” Is it so, beloved? If you are spiritually dead, nothing here belongs to you; but if he has made you alive, you may take every single sentence of the chapter, and say, “That is mine, and glory be the grace of God!”

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Holy Spirit — Divine Drawings Implored” 463}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Man Fallen — Jesus Delivering The Lost Ones” 476}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Holy Spirit — Nature Helpless — The Spirit Working” 461}

{c} Anacreon (570 BC-488 BC) was a Greek lyric poet, notable for his drinking songs and hymns. See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacreon"

Holy Spirit
463 — Divine Drawings Implored
1 If thou hast drawn a thousand times,
      Oh draw me, Lord, again;
   Around me cast thy Spirit’s bands,
      And all my powers constrain.
2 Draw me from all created good,
      From self, the world, and sin,
   To the dear fountain the thy blood,
      And make me pure within.
3 Oh lead me to thy mercy seat;
      Attract me nearer still;
   Draw me, like Mary, to thy feet,
      To sit and learn thy will.
4 Oh draw me all the desert through
      With cords of heavenly love,
   And when prepared for going hence,
      Draw me to dwell above.
            Beddome and Rippon, 1800. a

Man Fallen
476 — Jesus Delivering The Lost Ones
1 Buried in shadows of the night
   We lie, till Christ restores the light;
   Wisdom descends to heal the blind,
   And chase the darkness of the mind.
2 Our guilty souls are drown’d in tears
   Till his atoning blood appears;
   Then we awake from deep distress,
   And sing, “The Lord our Righteousness.”
3 Our very frame is mix’d with sin,
   His Spirit makes our natures clean;
   Such virtues from his sufferings flow,
   At once to cleanse and pardon too.
4 Poor helpless worms in thee possess
   Grace, wisdom, power, and righteousness;
   Thou art our Mighty All, and we
   Give our whole selves, Oh Lord, to thee.
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.

Holy Spirit
461 — Nature Helpless — The Spirit Working
1 How helpless guilty nature lies,
      Unconscious of its load!
   The heart, unchanged, can never rise
      To happiness and God.
2 Can aught beneath a power divine
      The stubborn will subdue?
   ‘Tis thine, Eternal spirit, thine
      To form the heart anew.
3 ‘Tis thine the passions to recall,
      And upwards bid them rise’
   And make the scales of error fall
      From reason’s darkened eyes.
4 To chase the shades of death away,
      And bid the sinner live!
   A beam of heaven, a vital ray,
      ‘Tis thine alone to give.
5 Oh change these wretched hearts of ours,
      And give them life divine!
   Then shall our passions and our powers,
      Almighty Lord, be thine.
                           Anne Steele, 1760.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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