Never the Same Again

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.   (Ephesians 2:1-10)
We all have things happen in our lives where, after they happen, we’re never the same again. The first time you fall in love. When you have your first child. When you see Avengers: Endgame for the first time. Truthfully, these experiences do change us. But there’s nothing so radical as the change that happens, as John Newton puts it in his hymn Amazing Grace, “the hour I first believed”.

This is not just because you now have church as a new hobby. It’s because the Bible teaches us that a part of you that was dead was suddenly raised to life again. It is impossible, before you’re saved, to fully understand what it means for your spirit to be ‘dead’ because you’ve been walking around spiritually dead for your whole life. It is all you know. Dead things don’t speak, but we think that it’s very normal for our spirit to have no impact on your life.

That changes when we are born again. Our spirits are our ‘inner being’, the part of us that communes with God. It is in our spirit that we hear God speak and it is our spirit that is joined to God’s Spirit. While our spirit remains dead, we are separated from the Lord.

Dead things can’t come to life on their own. If they did, the resurrection of Jesus wouldn’t be a miracle; it would be normal! The fact that it was a miracle ought to teach us what it means for our own spirits to be raised to new life. Your spirit didn’t come back to life because you worked hard, or because you deserved it. Paul says in Ephesians 2 that we were by nature deserving wrath. But God (surely the two sweetest words in the English language!), because he is rich in mercy, made our spirits alive. Paul is really clear with us: “It is by grace you have been saved”.

As we reflect on our spiritual lives this week, and as we seek to be fruitful spiritually, it is crucial that we don’t lose sight of this. We are spiritually alive by the grace of God. Everything we learn this week is ours by God’s lavish grace.
  1. Stop and reflect on the impact your spiritual life has on your everyday life. How does communing with God affect you? How would your life be different each day if God hadn’t raised your spirit back to life?
  2. This passage is true for every Christian that has ever lived. If we are all saved by grace, how does that affect the way we relate to others in God’s family? How does it affect how we relate to people who do not yet believe?
  3. Read this passage again, slowly. Pause to think of some of the cravings, desires and thoughts of the flesh that you wrestled with before God raised your spirit back to life. Pause again to reflect on and rest in the mercy of God. Don’t move on from this quickly if you don’t have to. Take your time feeling and hearing God’s love for you.
Father, I am in awe of your incredible grace and mercy that you showed in raising my spirit to life. As I reflect on this gift, I commit to stewarding this remarkable gift that you have given me. Help me to do so, and help me as I help others to do the same. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Freddie Ingle, who leads our Kingston congregation.
 
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.

Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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