First, let’s look at The Power of Grace as expressed here in the book of Ephesians are three fold. First, God’s Grace Resurrects Us. Notice Paul’s startling announcement there in verse 1. 1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Paul is writing to people who have already been saved, who have committed their hearts and lives to God. In verse 1, Paul says that before Jesus Christ was Lord and Savior of our lives, we were dead in our trespasses and sins — spiritually dead. It’s the testimony of every man, woman and young person who ever lived and who ever will live. Before we come to that point where we realize that we are lost in our sins, before we cried out to God admitting that we were sinners, before we asked for forgiveness of our sins, before we gave our lives to God, Paul says, we were spiritually dead. Death in the scriptures speaks of separation. Physically when one dies there is a separation of body and spirit. Spiritual death, and that is the condition that Paul is speaking of, is sinful man being separated from God. Without a personal relationship to Jesus Christ, you are living in a condition of spiritual death. You are not alive to the things of God. You need to be resurrected… made alive!
The truth is, Paul says over and over again, life apart from Jesus Christ is death. You may be a living sinner, but you are spiritually dead. Listen to me, this morning. You don’t have to do anything to be spiritually dead except live life as you please, follow the crowd, fulfill your own personal desires. Refuse to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. Hear what I said. I did not say that you had to reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. There are a lot of people in our churches today who are lost and headed for hell, and they would say I’ve never rejected Jesus Christ. I pray. I read my Bible. I go to church. I’ve never rejected Him, never pushed him away. But understand, the question is not whether you’ve rejected Him. The question is have you accepted Him. The question is not have you professed faith in Him, but have you possessed Him as Lord and Savior and more importantly does He possess you?
Then Paul tells us that God’s Grace Releases Us. He says without Christ, you are mastered by Satan. A lot of church folks, and a lot of non-church folks would bow up at that one. Wait a minute, preacher, I’ve never been mastered by Satan. Yes, you have. Look at vv. 2-3. Paul says before any of us accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives we were mastered by Satan because we followed the course of this world; because we followed the prince of the power of the air; because we lived in disobedience to God. How did we do that? By conducting ourselves in the lusts of our flesh and fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind. In short, we thought we were doing our own thing, but the truth is we were doing the devil’s own thing.
Listen, everyone of us who were or are outside of a personal, intimate, love relationship with God have bought into this world’s philosophies, values and life-styles at some time or another. Paul says in Ro. 14:23 that anything that is not of faith is sin. And we cannot escape the fact that from birth we are geared to self-seeking and the satisfaction of self-centered cravings.
We have been influenced by our society. Some condone racism. Some are prejudiced, but God says in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free. Our society is in the grip of materialism — gotta have the biggest and the best. Always looking for more. Our wants become needs become cravings that must be satisfied. Sexual practices have become so distorted in the world that to many Christians, homosexuality is okay, adultery is okay, sex outside of marriage is okay. In fact, we live in a world where if it makes you happy it’s okay. But listen to me. Whether it’s hidden sin or blatant rebellion, life outside of Christ is about meeting our own personal needs and desires. We are slaves to sin and self, but God’s grace changes all of that.
God says sin is still sin and outside of Jesus Christ, we face the wrath of God. Look at verse 3. Outside of Christ, we were children of wrath, deserving of divine punishment for our sins, deserving of death spiritually and physically, headed straight for an eternity in hell. But….