For every believer there was a time of wilful, oblivious darkness, a time when we were […] without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world (Eph 2:12). Such hopeless emptiness is hard to fathom once one has experienced the new birth and been delivered from it. To compare such birth to being an astronaut would to some extent illustrate the enormous sense of uplift and protection, but the clever analogy ultimately fails to convey the intimate, quotidian reality of spiritual transformation. One could indeed travel millions of miles away from earth and still remain untransformed, dead in trespasses and sins, alienated from God’s kingdom.
Who or what then, made the difference? Did we of our own ability or volition one day just start to listen to our consciences? Was it our fledgling faith or gradual repentance which started to stack up brownie points to grant us eventual entry into this kingdom? A thousand times no, because not one soul upon the earth could or would raise themselves from the dead. Lazarus is a prime example of our spiritual deadness. It was as if the Lord Jesus waited a while longer than was strictly necessary, in order to completely put to rest the slightest hint that anything of human decision or inclination was involved, that it be not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (Jn 1:13).
If you are a believer, nothing less than God’s unconditional election of you is the sole cause. Nothing in you wanted the things which are of Christ, for in you are things which war against the soul (1 Pe 2:11). In fact, all of us who no longer walk in our old ways but rather as strangers and pilgrims (v.11), have been summoned from the dead and are now the living citizens of God’s kingdom, rubbing shoulders with the walking dead. But surely there are many more souls who have been elected to be raised up and clothed with a righteousness alien to their natures. Now is the time to dwell among and converse with them, for today is but one day closer to it being too late.