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Description: Alive in Christ Through Faith
Alive in Christ Through Faith
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Loved ones, will you turn to Ephesians 2:1, it’s just that short verse there, “And you he made
alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins.” There are a couple of things that
confirm what God has shown us already as we’ve also been reading Beyond Personality by C. S. Lewis.
Its remarkable how he comes right down the same line as God has been showing us.
I can bring it home even more clearly if you’ll suffer with the Greek for a moment, because
Ephesians 2:1 reads “kai”, which is “and,” “humas” which is “and you,” and then “unteas” (to be,
being) and those who know a little Greek know that’s the present participle of the verb “to be,” or
“being,” and “paraptoma” is the Greek word for – you can see the heart of it there in “toma.” I
don’t know if you realize that that is “fall” but “paraptoma” is trespasses. So “paraptoma” and then
“kai” and “hamartia”, and most of us know “hamartia” as sins, missing the mark. It’s the dative
“human” and the importance of it is this is “and”, and this is “you”, and this is “being”, and I’m
sorry I think I’ve probably missed the “being dead” which is “nekros.” And this actually the
article in the Greek but it really is “trespasses” and then “trespasses and your sins.”
And then even though the RSV, to make sense in English has, “He made alive,” he made alive actually
doesn’t occur until down in verse 5 and there is the word, “suzoopoieo” and it is “en Christos” and
that is “made us made alive together with Christ.” And so that’s where the verb comes, Christ, that
governs the object us or you. So it’s “and he made alive together with Christ, you being dead in
the trespasses and sins.”
And why I thought it was worth writing the Greek on the board for you is, do you see that it’s plain
that God made you alive being dead in the trespasses and sins and the second verse says “In which
you once walked.” But you being dead, at the very time when you were dead, Christ made you alive,
or God made you alive together with Christ. So it was while you were dead — it wasn’t after you
had exercised faith. And I know it sounds so strange to us, but it’s what we’ve been saying for
years together; God made you alive in Christ when you were dead — when you were dead. Not when you
got up and started to pray. Not when you got up and repented. Not when you got up and managed to
persuade yourself that maybe God had forgiven you your sins, but when you were actually dead in your
trespasses and sins.
When you were dead God made you alive together with Christ. And of course, it’s what we’ve been
saying from the beginning of this plain truth that we’ve been studying, that it all began with God
conceiving his dear son. But obviously, the moment he conceived him he conceived of his son being
the human race, being a man. And at that same moment he conceived of all of us being made inside
him. And at that same moment he conceived that we would all rebel against him and he was prepared to
bear that in his son. And then because of the virtue of his own son, he raised him up and raised us
up together with him and made us alive with him. And so of course that’s our situation; that we
have been made alive even when we were dead in our trespasses.
Do you see that it makes faith fit into the right place? Faith did not cause our resurrection.
Faith does not cause our forgiveness. Faith does not put us into Christ. We are in Christ and
faith accepts that. Faith believes truth. It believes the reality that God out of sheer grace made
us alive in his son, out of sheer grace because he loves us. And I’ve said it to you before but I’d
say it to you yet again, “Do you mean he made us alive whatever we were going to do with that
truth?” Yes, that’s what it means when we say, “God put himself at risk for us.” That’s what it
means when we say, “God put himself on our side.” And if we say, “Even against himself” isn’t that
what Jesus is? Its God’s own self so even against himself God made us alive in Jesus and if you
ask, “Unconditionally?” Yes. Yes. God did that. God made us alive in Jesus unconditionally and
said, “By faith you can know this and you can live in the joy and the wonder of it.” But faith is
something that simply sees what is true and what is real. Faith does not cause the thing to be true
or cause it to be real because you being dead, “being” is the present participle, at the very time
when you were dead in your sins and your trespasses, God made you alive together with Christ. And
that’s why Easter is our Easter. That’s why.
It’s not just that Easter is a declaration that Christ has triumphed over death; it’s your Easter
and my Easter. It’s our assurance that God is on our side and that he has forgiven us, that he
loves us and has given us heaven and is simply saying to us, “Take heaven. Believe in it and live
in the joy of it.” But I think some of us may not be entering into the whole freedom of that. It’s
right that we emphasis the importance of repentance and the importance of faith, but it’s very
important that we realize that it’s not repentance and faith that cause our salvation. And it’s not
repentance and faith that makes us right with God. It’s God himself who has made us right with him.
He looked upon us and saw us being dead even before the foundation of the world, and he made us
alive together with Christ and then he said, “Now, this is the truth; I’ve raised you up with my son
and made you alive and you’re my children. Now come on, let’s live together in joy and delight.”
And what I saw was that it delivered us from what I think all of us have to some degree, gone
through the agonies of John Bunyan, where he kept feeling that he was condemned beyond hope of
redemption and then would grab at a verse in scripture and would climb up into some kind of
assurance of salvation and then a few days later would sink again under condemnation and so was up
and down, up and down. I think all of us to some extent have suffered that at times in our lives
and I think we’ve suffered it because we have just not grasped the plain truth of scripture that
when we were actually dead God made us alive together with Christ.
And it wasn’t after we began to wiggle our toes a little, or it wasn’t after we began to stumble
towards him a little that he did it. It wasn’t when we began to confess our sins that he did it.
It wasn’t when we repented when he did it. It wasn’t when we were baptized that he did it. It was
when we were dead in our trespasses and sins God made us alive in Christ and that’s where we are.
We’re in him at this moment alive in Jesus, just because God has done it. So that’s why the whole
Easter celebration is our coming alive and that’s why none of us should ever have a moment of
None of us should ever have a moment when we doubt or we’re not sure if God has forgiven us, and all
the while our dear Father is sitting up there looking at us and saying, “Forgiven you? Before you
were born I had forgiven you. Before you were born I had raised you up in my son and made you
alive. Forgiven you? Don’t say that, open your eyes and see that my son has been made alive and
you have been made alive together with him. And as far as I’m concerned you’re right here with both
of us so stand up and rejoice.”
Let us pray.