Friday, November 19, 2010

The Condition of Man: Part Two

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins..." -Ephesians 2:1

Some months ago I concluded a blog entitled "The Condition of Man: Part One" by stating that man was spiritually dead. I mentioned the fact that Jesus is standing at the spiritual door of mankind and He is knocking while He waits for us to answer. The question I asked was this: "What is the condition of the man on the other side of the door?"

My thesis is that mankind is in no condition to make spiritual decisions to follow Jesus unless some outside force first changes their hopeless condition. I claimed that the first evidence to support my thesis was the Biblical idea that the man on the other side of the door is spiritually dead and therefore unable to answer the door at which Jesus stands and knocks. To live, he must answer the door and to answer the door he must be made alive.

In the same way, a dead man can't drink water unless he first becomes alive. If he must drink water to become alive, then he will remain dead because a dead man can't drink water. Someone else can pour water down a corpse's throat but that's not drinking, that's just pouring water into a dead man's mouth. For that dead man to drink, he must first live again.

In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes some amazing things about who God is and who we are in light of God being who He is. One of the passages that is amazing is Ephesians 2:1-10 which says in verse one that we (Christians) were dead (spiritually) and we were headed for a big heaping dose of God's nasty, righteous, good, just wrath and that non-believers are still on the path for it. Verse 5 seems to clearly state that for some reason God gave us life even when we were dead and unable to do anything to please him (Romans 8:7-8).

Paul writes something similar to the Church at Colossae:
"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses..."

There's no doubt that Paul believes there is something spiritually dead about us. If you read Romans 8 you get this picture that the physical state of a man will line up with the spiritual state of him as well. If I live by the flesh, my physical body and soul will go the way of the flesh which is death. The Spirit is life and peace, so if I live this life by, in, and through the Spirit, I will live spiritually and live once again physically when resurrected by Christ. That is an overwhelming theme in the writings of Paul. My physical life in the flesh will line up with the posture of my soul.

So, if we are dead spiritually, what can we on our own merit and under our own power do to change the state our spiritual condition? The answer is: nothing. When was the last time you saw a corpse do anything but decompose? The only time truly dead things come to life again is by the power of an eternal force. So in the case of spiritual deadness, what external force intervenes for the corpse on the other side of the door upon which Jesus knocks? The corpse must come to life for it to answer the door and inviting Jesus in. But we've established, at the cost of me sounding redundant, that life won't happen apart from an outside granting life.

So the conclusion is: Man is dead spiritually and there's nothing we can do about it. But that's just the beginning of our problems. Because even if the spiritual corpse comes to life, the now living corpse is hostile toward the one who stands at the door and knocks. The key word in that verse is "hostile."

Hostile: "Of an enemy, pertaining to an enemy, or characteristic of an enemy; opposed in feeling, action, or character; not friendly, not warm, not generous, not hospitable."

We've got a huge problem: The God of the Universe is standing at our door...and we hate him.


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