The Walking Dead

Ephesians 2.1

Viewed spiritually, we may be dead on our feet, responsible for our moral behaviour, and yet unconscious, of our need of God, and of the smallness of our lives. Here is the way of escape from a life of spiritual pointlessness, to discovery of spiritual life.

And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.

And my subject is: people viewed spiritually very often are ‘Walking Dead’. ‘Walking Dead’, viewed spiritually. And here in this first verse the apostle Paul says, And you hath he quickened – an old fashioned way of saying ‘you hath he enlivened, brought to life, who were dead in trespasses and sins.’ Well, before conversion that is how we are spiritually. We’re described in the scripture as dead. Now, of course we are not totally dead. We are not physically dead. We’re not morally dead, but we are spiritually dead.

We are responsible for our sins. We can grasp enough about God to be responsible for rejecting him and dismissing him. We are not utterly dead, but we’re dead in two senses. We’re dead in the sense that we are as good as dead as far as the day of judgment is concerned. As the old fashioned language would put it, our doom is written.

Because of our sin, because of our rejection of God, because we have no communion with Him, and because of our sin, of course, we are as good as judged, so we are considered dead in that way. Because eternal death or punishment is our destiny, our future. And we’re also dead in another way, because although we’re conscious enough to be responsible for the rejection of God and therefore due to be judged by him at the same time, we just do not grasp the point and the significance.

It’s not an excuse for us, but I think of the late 1950s and the 1960s, when there was a great tendency among many young people simply to opt out of ever going out to work. Now I’m not thinking of people who, through no desire of their own, were unemployed. Then as now, that is a very sad thing, if there are no jobs, if there is no work for people. But I’m thinking of a movement and a tendency that came in, where by choice you opted out of life’s responsibilities and you just didn’t work, and so on. And this incorporated, of course, the hippie movement and flower power and all these different movements. And there are bits of it still left today. But if you would say to somebody, well, for how long can you keep this up? I would say, well, as long as I can, why not, you know.

There seemed no sense of the fact this wasn’t possible. You’ve got to raise a family, you’ve got to support a home, you’ve got to live and eat and so on. You can’t rely on, well, the things just being given to you. And there was a wave, a generation, of people who just never seemed to see this, and they put it off for some time. And that rather gives us an illustration of what it is to be spiritually dead.

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