And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NAS)
As mankind compares himself with himself he appears to be alright. However, as God compares us to what he originally intended we appear more like the Walking Dead. Paul teaches that without Christ our zombie-like spirits marched in step to the self- destructive whims of the flesh and the mind. Like a family of disfigured marionettes we rattled along in a lifeless march, thinking we were free when, all the while, the strings were firmly held by an evil master. As we trekked onward, indulging in our selfish appetites, our strings became impossibly tangled as we were driven toward a precipice from which we would be shoved only to fall forevermore.
But it turns out there is another character in our story, One far greater than the one who held our strings. He is the Creator of those doomed and dangling beings whom He still loves even in their entangled and mutated condition. Since He originally designed them without strings He knows there is the capacity, still yet, for Life within them. He knows His breath will awaken them. It is to a troop of these rescued and awakened ones that the Apostle Paul writes. He explains what has happened to them.
He tells them they were rescued by the initiative of their Creator, a rescue that they had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Acting out of His own great mercy and love for them, their Creator gifted them with a faith that positioned them on the firm ground of His grace. This salvation was not just deliverance from an eternal fall, it was an impartation of Life. While they were the Walking Dead, He breathed into them and gave them His very own Life enabling them to walk in the Life of His Spirit.
This salvation included a new status as those elevated from lifeless slavery to a realm situated above the dark one they had come from. Through the gift of the Creator, a family of like-spirited beings are being gathered together and restored to the Creator’s own image. With their strings clipped they are now free to choose to deny the conditioned impulses of an old mutilated nature. Without their strings, they discover a new Life within, empowering them to live and to love out of their new identities.
The Creator aspires to release his family, who is now living from the power of the age to come as freed men, back into the present evil age where they had been imprisoned. The Creator’s good and perfect will is that they, as His own workmanship, enter into the reconciling and redemptive tasks he has prepared for them – putting things back, by way of the Creator’s own Life, into the order which He originally intended.
Father, thank you that in Your kindness You have raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places so that in the ages to come and even now You might show the surpassing riches of Your grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Help us to live perpetually at rest in the complete nature of Your gift. Help us to break free of every conditioned response and impulse we learned when the strings were once attached. You are the Giver of every good and perfect gift. All to Your glory.