It had been an excruciatingly long week. I was part of a team testing a vendor’s proposed computer list for a government contract. The powers that be wanted everything done as quickly as possible. Therefore, we were all working long hours. I and one other guy was responsible for the “open systems” testing, meaning we were the short staffed side of the testing team. After one really long day and night, we both decided to head home, get a reasonable amount of sleep, and come back in to attack testing again. At the point both of us pulled off base, we were almost dead on our feet. Have you ever been that tired? Most of us have.
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — – Ephesians 2:5, ESV
With respect to sin, we are dead men and women walking. There’s no hope for us. The Bible makes it clear that once we sin, we cannot undo it, we cannot make up for it, and we cannot fix it. This gets under our skin because we like to think we’re in control and we like to believe that we can do anything. Sin is one thing we definitely can’t do anything about. We can work ourselves silly doing good deed after good deed, but the fact of the matter is that it does no good. We can work ourselves to the point of exhaustion, like me and my fellow coworker did that night, and it’s still not enough.
Back to my story, I slept about two hours. I woke up and decided to head back in, because I knew we were close to getting done. Also, the more I could get done, the more my coworker didn’t have to do. He and I had teamed up a lot and we were always looking out for one another. We were always going above and beyond to help the other. This was no exception. So it was humorous when we both pulled in to the parking lot at the same time and saw each other. He had the same idea and couldn’t sleep for the same reason. We laughed, headed in, and got the rest of our tasks knocked off faster than anyone expected. The main reason was because we were both encouraged at the other’s selflessness and we didn’t want to let the other down.
This is what I think of when I see “made us alive together with Christ.” The word together is significant, just as Jew and Greek is significant in the letter to the Romans. We are all in need of a Savior for the forgiveness of our sins. God laid down one path by which all might travel for that forgiveness, for that grace Paul wrote about. That’s why Paul said we are alive together. We separate ourselves in the Church for the silliest of reasons sometimes. Paul was reminding the believers in Ephesus that we’re all in this together because we are dependent on Christ.
He also wanted to remind them that they were alive in Christ. Where with sin they were dead men and women walking, with Christ they were alive and able to serve God fully and mightily. Just as my coworker and I were able to attack the rest of our tasks with gusto because of our bond, so Paul reminds us that because of our bond with Christ we are able to attack life in the same way. Romans reminds us that sin isn’t our master any longer. We are challenged to master life, or reign in life, (Romans 5:17) for while we were once dead in our trespasses, we are now alive in grace.
Remember those two things as you attack today. One, you aren’t alone, but you are together with every other believer because of Christ. Don’t let petty reasons separate you from the fellowship of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Two, that you are alive in grace. The world has a tendency to beat us down, to drag out the days, to make life seem dreary and full of one trial after another. We don’t have to keep that mindset. We can instead choose to have the view that today represents another day to serve God, to revel in His love, and to enjoy Him, regardless of what the world throws at us. We are alive in Christ and saved by grace. Nothing and no one can change that.