I cannot help but think of Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones, the bones representing our ‘natural’ spiritual condition… 100% lifeless. As God questions Ezekiel Son of man, can these bones live? (37:3), He goes on to describe His sovereign breathing in to the skeletal, reminding us of the act of original creation. At no point is there any agency in the ‘bones’, any merit attributed to them, or any decision required by them. The Lord’s conclusion is that then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it (v. 14), as if we need this lesson and do not naturally accept it.
We may recall old Simeon’s prophecy near the beginning of the New Testament, revealing how Christ’s ministry would have to destroy before creating, level before raising, as He was set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel (Lu 2:34). As a preacher once put it, his struggle was not so much to get people saved as to get them lost, that they might see their need of being saved!
And how Christ divides opinion, whether in religious or political circles, His true identity and gospel being a sign which shall be spoken against (v. 34). If there is one thing on which the present-day Islamist and Western hedonist can agree, it is that the Bible is not true and that Christ cannot save. So it was with the Gentile Pilate and the Jewish Herod, who were made friends (Lu 23:12) by their mutual denial of the truth of Christ.
True believers, however, accept and even rejoice in their own impotence, and God’s unconditional election of them. Unlike the Herods and Pilates of this world they are made to realise that they can have no power in anything, physical or spiritual, except it be given from above (Jn 19:11). Thus all that they may seek to do for Him must be from Him.