2013 Sermon Series
- May 5, 2013
Living Contrasts: From Death to Life in Christ
The Greek of this passage only contains 2 sentences, divided into three sections. Last week we looked a sober and fair assessment of lost people in verses 1-3 and introduced the jubilant initiative of God in verses 4-7. This week we will continue with the second section and look at the outworking of our response to God’s grace.
Section 2: A Jubilant Initiative of God (verses 4-7).
The main subject and verb of this passage is “but God … made us alive.” This literally means He gave us life. He regenerated us at conversion, takes us from being spiritually dead to spiritually alive. Just as Christ was physically dead because of our sin and made alive in His resurrection by the power of God, so we too are also promised a physical resurrection from the dead, and in Christ’s life we are spiritually made alive if we turn from our sin and place our faith alone in Him.
God does this by his grace (repeated in verses 5 and 8). Grace stands opposed to any idea of human work to earn or deserve salvation. It is God’s free and unearned favor given to those whom God chooses.
This grace is an enduring grace that will last through all future ages.
Section 3: The Christian’s Divine Consistency (verses 8-10).
Reports on charitable contributions reveal that there are a lot of “do-gooders” in our culture. Sadly, most of these probably give in hopes of making it to Heaven because of their good works. This has been the pitfall of religions since the Fall. The burden of getting yourself to Heaven is truly an agony; we will never measure up to one another, let alone a holy God.
The Bible teaches that faith and grace are inseparable twins, both worked in one’s heart by the Lord alone. Instead of working to earn God’s favor, we must trust the good work of One, Jesus Christ.
This new reality of being alive in Christ transcends natural explanation. God’s purpose was to create a new humanity out of Jew and Gentile. In this realm, human works count for nothing; only Christ’s work is sufficient to save.
As God’s supernatural workmanship, we are re-created to do multiple good works (verse 10). We now do these naturally as a demonstration of grace, not to earn grace but because we already have God’s favor. Our good works are always for the glory of God and the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All these works are underpinned by God’s grace and not our own effort.
- Are you a “do-gooder”? There is nothing wrong with charitable giving, unless you are hoping to earn Heaven with it. God’s grace is something we will never earn, but it has been freely offered to everyone through Jesus Christ. Will you turn from your own works and throw yourself fully on His mercy?
- As a Christian, created and re-created by God, why are you in this world? It is not merely to stop living in sin, but so that others may see your divine consistency and glorify your Heavenly Father. Whether you are working hard at your job, caring for your home, or anything in between, everything you do is attached to a divine opportunity. Do you remember that as you go about your busy life?
- Life in our culture is exhausting. Does your strength come from your own effort or God’s grace? Divine ability will always support one pursuing a divine goal. How can you flip your perspective and rely on Him this week?
Cross References to Explore:
- Romans 3:23 – Summary of a sober assessment of the lost.
- 2 Corinthians 15:22, Colossians 2:13-15 – Physical and spiritual regeneration.
- Romans 3:21-26, Romans 5:15-17 – God’s grace.
- Hebrews 11:6 – Faith, grace’s inseparable twin.
- Psalm 19, Genesis 1 – God’s creation initiative.
- 1 Peter 2:12, Matthew 5:16 – We do good works to advance the Gospel.
A Hymn to Encourage: “How Firm a Foundation”
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.”
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.”
“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all Hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”