We have seen that God is love, and now we come to think more fully about what happens when we are saved. The apostle Paul wrote about what has happened in our salvation, and the ongoing work of the Lord in the life of every believer.
One of man’s problems with sin is his unwillingness to acknowledge its destructive nature. We will never have a loving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ until we acknowledge our pitiful and hopeless life in sin before He saved us.
In the first place, we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” We were physically alive, but spiritually we were dead and there was nothing about us pleasing to God. Isaiah wrote about this death, calling it a separation from God: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
I have heard preachers speak of people, saying they are sin-sick. Sin is not a sickness, it is death and the only help for a dead man is resurrection.
When a person dies we want to know what caused the death, so it is reasonable that we would want to know what caused this spiritual death, and we need look no further than the first book of God’s Word. God told Adam he could not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The moment Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they experienced spiritual death, and eventually they physically died.
With such terrible consequences, so how do we become more aware of sin’s origins? We find the world has a powerful way of tempting Christians to conform to its ways rather than to the image of Christ. Secondly, we look at the devil who wants believers to disobey God. The devil is the great liar, and he has deceived many a person. Finally, the flesh tempts us to sin. This is the sin nature which is in all of us. We must be aware of temptations that arise in our own hearts and minds.
Paul said that before salvation, we “were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” In John 3:18, Jesus said, “he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Without Christ Jesus, we are condemned in the eyes of God. What an awful thought. “But God, who is rich in mercy,” loves us and He is patient. We are told God “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
God is love and He is rich both in mercy and grace so much so that even when were spiritually dead in our sins, He loved us and quickened, or made us alive, “together with Christ.” When a person is saved, he is resurrected, but God does not stop there. He exalts people who are saved, and exalted people will forever glorify Him, showing “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Do not be deceived, it is grace and not your works that saves you. Paul said it is “not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
Perhaps we now come to understand that when God saves us, He is not done with us. Paul said we are His workmanship. God has a holy life planned for believers if we will yield to His will. It is God’s road we travel, and while we do not always understand where we are on that road or even why we are there, we can trust God because in His love He “hath before ordained (or prepared) that we should walk” in a holy life.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. Reach him at email@example.com