"even when we were dead in our transgressions,
made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)"
Ephesians 2:5 (NASB)
The more I spend time with Christians helping them to deal with life's difficulties, I realise that very few people actually have a revelation of the Gospel. They not only struggle to put it into words but have no idea how to apply it to their lives. Many people want some kind of experience that will instantly set them free from their pain, instead of letting the Gospel minister to them. And when they don’t have this ‘instant’ experience, they often start doubting. Not only doubting God's goodness but also question the Gospel itself.
The Gospel is the hook on which every truth in Scripture hangs. Unless you understand the Gospel in its fullness, nothing else in Scripture will have the power you think it has. You don’t only respond to it when you first become a Christian, but it is very important to let the Gospel minister to you every day.
The problem is that the pure foundation of the Gospel is not clearly understood.
So exactly what is the Gospel?
Let me try to explain it with five simple words today: DEAD in SIN, MADEALIVE in CHRIST.
Imagine you went skiing and lost your gloves way up on the glacier. You came down and one of your fingers froze solid; it has turned black and blue with gangrene. It has no life whatsoever and your finger’s tissue is beyond the point of healing. IT IS DEAD! There is nothing you can do to make it better. No effort on your side will bring a cure or be able to repair this. It is a hopeless situation.
This is the state of a person’s spirit before they are born again. There is nothing you can do out of your own to obtain life. You cannot be coached by a professional nor develop disciplines to remove the gangrene from your spirit. You do not need a cure or a set of exercises, you need to be MADE ALIVE!
DEATH is not solved by discipline or good living. The gangrene can only be reversed by being MADE ALIVE. This means life does not come through your effort, but by the one who MADE the finger in the first place. You are not becoming more ALIVE as you obey the tasks given to you. You are MADEALIVE by your Creator. Nothing and no one else can deal with DEATH.
You either need a miracle, administered through your Creator, to give you life, or you will lose your finger forever (eternal death).
This is the result of SIN.
I believe with everything in me sin is one of the most misunderstood theologies in the Christian world. If sin is properly understood, you will undoubtedly cry out for a Saviour. The reason we do not understand sin is because we want to call it something else; a problem, brokenness, difficulty, a mistake, etc.
When you call it a problem, then you need to deal with it yourself. God doesn’t deal with your problems, He deals with your SIN. In our analogy above with the gangrenous finger, sin can be compared to the snow storm.
We are living in a world fallen, in sin. Unless you are clothed with CHRIST, you will be affected by the SIN in this world. SIN results in DEATH, not problems. So do not talk about your bad self-image as a result of your lack of fathering. If you do this, it might just get you to look for the cure at some counselor. If you get to a counselor who thinks he can reverse the death caused by a father wound, you need to leave his office right away. He is not your Messiah.
A Godly counselor will help you to understand you are not suffering from a bad self-image. You are suffering from DEATH caused by the SIN in this world. When you are alive in CHRIST, you will be far less concerned about your own image.
SIN is not simply something you do wrong. It is the complete and utter state of eternal separation from God that this world finds itself in. Because it is separated from its Creator, there is nothing it can give you that will bring you back into life. Life comes from God alone and not from any other source.
Let me repeat myself - NOTHING YOU DO CAN REVERSE THE DEATH CAUSED BY SIN. YOU NEED THE AUTHOR OF LIFE.
To be MADE alive is done by someone outside of yourself. It is not an inside effort on your part. Someone else needs to MAKE you alive. Unless you understand this, you will always think that through your own efforts you can earn your stripes with God.
Let Him MAKE you alive. Being made ALIVE is the result of the Author of Life and the very Giver of Life giving His Nature to you.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
John 1:4 (NASB)
All things came into being through Him,
and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
John 1:3 (NASB)
Being MADE ALIVE in CHRIST is the only one single solution to the death that you carry in your soul. The opening verse says that we were MADE ALIVE together with CHRIST. The reason Jesus had to die on the cross is to deal with SIN. The result of SIN was DEATH. For this reason He destroyed death by taking it upon Himself so that we do not have to. He became gangrenous on the cross.
Jesus was raised from the dead so we can be MADE ALIVE in HIM. Every restoration in your life will happen in direct connection with the Resurrection of Christ.
If you have unforgiveness, you need a resurgence of love. When you repent of your unforgiveness by bringing it to the cross, the resurrection of Christ will heal your heart.
Unless you allow the cross and resurrection to deal with sin in your life, even after you’ve become a Christian, you will never see God’s resurrection power touch you with His life.
The Gospel is the solution to all the death caused by sin.
Unfortunately, I have dealt with quite a few divorces over the last few years. In every case, I realised that the decision to divorce was not something that came up overnight for that couple. It was a gangrenous finger that got neglected, way back somewhere. This death in one part of the soul slowly started killing the rest of the soul. Eventually, there was no more turnaround.
The biggest problem is not even the fact that the death spread throughout everything. The biggest problem is the fact that, very deceptively, the dead finger way back then, was never called sin. The fact that there was never any repentance for those initial unhealthy thought patterns or half-truths, caused the spouse to get to a place where they have no faith that Jesus can resurrect the marriage anymore.
The truth is, Jesus can give life to everything and anything. Unfortunately, the faith is not there for the big issue because there was never repentance for the small one. The small “problem” was soaked in death and it killed everything around it. The result? A dead marriage.
DEAD in SIN, MADE ALIVE in CHRIST!
What dead fingers do you have? Let the Gospel minister to your sin today. Call it SIN. Realise it causes death. Let the cross of Jesus destroy the sin. Let His resurrection bring life and live in Christ.