One tiny three letter word. That’s all it takes to turn a whole story around. “But” – a conjunction used to introduce a contrasting sentence or paragraph to what has just been stated. What a contrast!
I was dead in my sins; a dead man walking with no real life; trying to find life in cars, motorcycles, alcohol, parties, and all kinds of other things that just deadened me even more (vs. 1). I followed all the ways of the world to try to find happiness, and it just left me emptier. I was nothing but a wayward disobedient child serving the ruler of the kingdom of the air, even satan (vs.2). Surely you know what I’m talking about, since all of us lived the way I did; living to satisfy our own cravings, desires and ideas (vs.3a). I was totally deserving of God’s judgment and consequences because I was nothing but a self-centred sinner, deserving wrath (vs. 3b).
BUT! One day, something happened to me that would change my life forever. I would never be the same again. It was all because of God’s love for me – this God I did not really know, who is so rich in mercy (vs.4). Did I mention that I was dead in my sins? There was no hope for me. Then, by God’s incredible, amazing, free grace, He took this dead sinner, and made me alive – like being born again! Renewed! I was a new creation - “saved” from the judgement and wrath to come - saved from the consequences of my sinful lifestyle – saved from my own sinful desires and choices (vs. 5).
The Cause and Benefits:
A very interesting word is used in verse 5. It is the word “suzóopoieó”, (sood-zo-op-oy-eh'-o), which means “to raise to life together with/make alive together with”. Dead people don’t raise themselves; they have to be acted upon by some outside force. That force is Christ Himself! In Him is life! Do you see the source and cause of my incredible transformation? Jesus Christ. He’s the only One who can take a dead person and make them alive again. Notice the language of the rest of this passage: “with Christ” (vs. 5); “with Christ” (vs. 6); “in Christ” (vs. 6); “in Christ” (vs. 7); “in Christ” (vs. 10). It is because of His death and His resurrection that we gain new life. By faith in Him, we are spiritually joined to Him. He takes up residence inside of us – indwells us. This is the incredible mystery of the Gospel. Look at what the apostles John and Paul say,
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it.”(John 5:21 NIV)
Because we are in Him and He is in us, we died when He died, and we receive everlasting life when He was raised to new life – what Good News!
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
It is the fall season, when we start taking in plants and put them in the cold storage for winter. There they sit in a cold dark place, with no life to be seen. But then in the spring, we take them out and plant them in the ground. And before long, after the sun shines on them, they come back to life, growing and blooming and producing fruit. Similarly, when the Son shines the light of His life on us, we come alive again! Why because the Son is life (John 1:4). Here is one more verse just to solidify the Gospel truth, that coming to salvation, faith and new life in Christ, is accomplished because we are united to Christ when we believe in Him:
“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4 NIV)
God’s love! His mercy! And His grace accomplished all this! (vs 4, 5). But He did not stop there. God raised me up with Christ and seated me in the heavenly realms with Christ! I am a heavenly creature…spiritually and positionally speaking. I am with Christ where He is! There are three verbs in verses 5 & 6, and each one has the prefix “sun” pronounced “soon”. It means “together”. So if you read a translation like the King James, New King James, or New American Standard, you will see the word “together” repeated 3 times! This is the heart of the message!
1. I have been made alive TOGETHER with Christ
2. I have been raised up TOGETHER with Christ
3. I have been seated TOGETHER with Christ in Heaven
Christ and I are one! He is in me and I am in Him. (John 17:20-23)
This Gospel just keeps getting better and better! It is incredible what Christ has done for us in His death and resurrection, and what the Father has given us because we have trusted in His Son for salvation and deliverance. This Gospel Good News is just too good to keep to oneself. You just have to tell somebody so they can have the opportunity to experience this new Life in Christ, living together with Christ. Share your “but” story with others. Let them know who you were before Christ, what you became after believing and receiving Christ, and what the spiritual benefits are of your new relationship with Christ. Let them know they can have it too, and that it’s a gift, they don’t have to work for it. GOOD NEWS!
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