Out of the tomb

This is an excerpt from the book The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges

Paul was fond of painting an absolutely dismal picture of our condition, then saying, "But here's God's remedy." He did it in Ephesians 2:1-5, where he said that although we were dead in our transgressions and sins, God "made us alive together with Christ." It's God who gives us spiritual life. We couldn't make ourselves spiritually alive any more than a dead person can make himself alive.

When Lazarus lay dead in the tomb, he could not decide to come to life again. He could not even respond to Jesus' call, "Lazarus, come out," unless with that call Jesus gave him life (John 11:1-44). Lazarus's condition, as he lay dead in the tomb, is a picture of our spiritual predicament. We can hear the gospel a hundred times, but unless that call is accompanied by the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, we can no more respond to it than Lazarus could respond to a vocal call from Jesus.

I know it's difficult for us to accept the fact that we could not just decide to trust Christ in much the same way we might decide to buy more life insurance. The truth is, we did decide to trust Christ, but the reason we made that decision is that God had first made us spiritually alive. This is part of the good news. God comes to us when we're spiritually dead, when we don't even realize our condition, and gives us the spiritual ability to see our plight and to see the solution in Christ. God comes all the way, not partway, to meet us in our need. When we were dead, He made us alive in Christ. And the first act of that new life is to turn in faith to Jesus.