As I was thinking about this title, which I felt like communicated the essence of this passage; I was reminded of an occurrence that happened when I was working in ICU. I worked on a unit where we took care of open heart surgery patients.
Now, these patients weren't transplants, but they needed bypass grafts to restore blood flow (life) to their heart; without that change to their hearts, they couldn't live.
There was one occurrence when I was working a night shift and a man who had had surgery that day went into V-fib, it's a heart rhythm that's not compatible to life because the heart isn't beating; instead, it's in a state of a weak quiver, and there is no real movement of blood, no real life circulating; sadly, this is where many Christians live, in a state of spiritual V- fib.
Anyway, we were frantically doing CPR, getting ready to shock the patient when the surgeon walked in to the room and said get the thoracotomy tray because we're going to have to open him up.
I can still remember her telling me, “Take those hemostats and rip those staples out!” And like unzipping a zipper, I ripped those hemostats through the staples, as they flew in all directions in the air, the skin covering his sternum opened, revealing the wires holding together.
"Come on Matt! Get the wire cutters and cut those wires! Hurry," so I did.
"Come on Matt! Get those retractors and open that chest up." I can still remember opening his chest and seeing that big quivering heart he had, it was barely hanging on for life.
"Grab it!" She said. "Grab it and start squeezing," so I squeezed, and then we shocked with internal paddles, and I squeezed and then we shocked...on and on, we feverishly worked to bring life back to this Man's quivering heart.
Unfortunately, he didn't make it through that trial in his life, and I don't know where he was spiritually at that moment, but I wanted to use that as an illustration to speak about the spiritual heart of man.
In his fallen state, man's heart (his spirit/ the part that connects to the life of God) is quivering at best, there is no life flowing through it. But God's plan has always been to offer hope through a heart transplant.
In the Old Testament, promised that there would be a day when He would do something different than ever before. He was talking about the New Covenant, a new agreement, where He would meet man according to His plan.
In this New Covenant, God said:
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
In this New Covenant, the promise was a heart change. God's plan would no longer work according to external religion; instead, He was saying that there would come a day when He would do an inner work, changing the very interior of man, that part of him which was driving his outward actions.
When God changes the heart, the reviving and remolding will start!
He also spoke through the prophet Jeremiah saying:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord,that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt;which my covenant they brake,although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel;After those days, saith the Lord,I will put my law in their inward parts,and write it in their hearts;and will be their God,and they shall be my people.
In this New Covenant, the internal miracle would result in God's Law being placed within the heart of the person. When the heart is "transplanted" by God, His Law or character (His Word/ who He is) is planted within the interior of man.
How does this happen? Because when a man or woman is born again, the Holy Spirit of God, the very life of God, and the author of the Law of God, now lives in the heart of man. So long before the sin is committed, the Holy Spirit is convicting, instructing, pleading with the believer not to transgress God's word.
Lastly, before we start, it's important that we understand the role of the Word and the Spirit in all this. God's word is His communication to this lost and dying world. Fallen humanity's thoughts are far removed from God; therefore, God sent His language to earth in the form of His word.
As the believer, begins to place God's word in him, the Holy Spirit that now lives in the transplanted heart begins to transform the whole view of reality. In this scenario, the transplant has been effective, blood flow has been restored, and the life of God is transforming the mind and conforming, even molding the believer into the image of Christ.
When God Transplants the Heart, the Reviving and Remolding will Start
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
…by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
The word children here is specifically related to the process of birth, or the production of offspring, and these children are described as those that by reason of their inherent nature were children facing wrath. Furthermore, earlier in the verse, Paul explains to the Ephesians that they also used to be among these ranks.
When God created Adam, He created him in His image and likeness Genesis 1:26,and Eve was brought forth from the side of that image, but since the occurrence of the fall, the procreation of man has followed a replication pattern of Adam's fallen image instead of the original state where Adam was created in the image of God, the image given him when he was formed of the dust and God's life was breathed within His lungs. Genesis 5:3.
Romans 5:12 teaches that the effects of Adam's sin has spread through the entirety of the human race.
Interestingly, along the "sinful nature" thought line, in the book of Romans starting at the end of chapter 5 through all of Romans 6, the word sin is used 19 times, but only once in all those places is the word used as a verb. Every other time, it's being used as a noun, which describes a person, place or thing, and in this case the noun is describing the nature of sin we received from our father Adam in our first birth.
Another way to describe this thought is that the sin nature (noun) is the root of sin and the (verbs/ actions) of sin are simply the fruit of the root. In essence, we need a miracle from God at the root system, because this alone will change the fruit that's manifested in the life, at least for the believer who is willing to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way.
I put this thought in the notes a couple weeks ago, and while I don’t intend to be redundant, as I was originally writing this idea, I believe God was giving me a revelation that I had previously not had. Just as Eve, Adam’s bride, was brought forth in a pristine state without spot or wrinkle from Adam’s sinless side, the bride of Christ has been grafted and is being re-created in Him, progressively being conformed into the image of our Lord until that glorious day when we will see Him (1 John 3:2), and then we will be as He is; we will have a sinless glorified body, and we will be restored to a state that truly reflects the image of God.
Ephesians 2:4, 5
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
We were dead in sins, which ultimately refers to being dead to the life of God, a separation from His presence. Sin in Adam and Eve's life resulted in expulsion from the garden, separating them from the presence and life of God (Genesis 3:24). This is why Paul describes the fact that we used to be one with them (unbelievers); we were previously amongst the unredeemed, separated from the presence and life of God; therefore, "children of wrath," because those found outside of Christ, will face the judgment of sin.
In this state man is dead to the light of God, no access to His presence, no access to His life. How lonely this feels as I type these words. My heart becomes heavy when I think about the countless souls who slip into eternity every day. I know that I don't do enough! Please help me God to do all I'm supposed to do!
Adam's banishment from the garden was a result of his disobedience and new gained knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17; 3:4, 5, 22), a knowledge only rightfully belonging to God, because He alone can hold the universe in His hand.
This knowledge moves man away from his focus on God alone; for now, he will spend his time and efforts playing the part of God. He will attempt to rectify the problems of sin by taking his own fallen ingenuity and logic and build a society that's more conducive to his perception of his own needs, a society that helps his physical discomforts resulting from the fall, but a society that disregards the knowledge of God.
The banishment from the garden results in separation from both God's presence but also God's life. There is no re-entrance, the flaming swords of the angels stand at the gate refusing entree' into this place where the presence and life of God exist. How they must have longed to partake of that tree again, to eat of its life giving fruit.
It must be understood that this tree can be partaken of again today, even right now; for that tree is Christ. He is the tree of life, and the cross as payment for our sin opened a new door to let man in. I wrote it a couple weeks back, but let's say it again, His side was riven (to make an opening), so we could be planted into the vine and be infused by the tree of life John 15.
Man is faced with a decision: which way will he turn, from which tree will he choose to eat? I want to love Jesus more than I love sin. I need a revelation from you God of this great love where with you loved, a love that reached even when I was dead and against you, even when I was born in Adam as a child of disobedience, you loved. You loved with your life.
Being restored into the presence of God changes everything about a person. I was able to spend some time with my brother in law this past weekend: what a blessing that was. But the most touching thing for me was when he started, through tear filled eyes, to talk about the pride of life. He said something like this, "Even my perception of appearances and clothing has changed. Why? Why clothes? Why are we so worried about trivial perceptions? Souls are hanging in the balance!"
You have to understand that I understand his thoughts. His "old man" and mine are much the same in this spot. The spot I speak of is the perception of appearance. With one quick glance, the mind has determined the value of another based upon their appearance. The question asked in the heart and mind is, "Can I be seen with you in public? Let me assess this situation and scan your appearance. Let me take note of your looks and your style. Yes, you're an acceptable one, but I'm sorry, you over there go to the discard pile. You've failed inspection."
God help me because this is who I was, and I never want to be that person again. This is an eternal soul created by God, and God wants me to emulate my Jesus and my Jesus is love beyond comprehension. I know because He loved a prideful and arrogant person like me.
We have been given new life in Christ. Through salvation, we died to the old ways and have been born again to the new.
In verses five and six, the word together is used 3 times:
...quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
…raised us up together
… made us sit together
I just want to make one point about the Greek language here, all three of these words translated as together have in the Greek the prefix: syn or sum, and this is where we get our word sum from; the thought in the original language is an adding to, a connecting, an English word describing this thought is conjoint.
Conjointly- joined together; united; combined; associated.
pertaining to or formed by two or more in combination; joint_ American Dictionary
Faith is the connecting place. The object of faith is Jesus and His cross that instrument of death wherewith He paid our debt and purchased our soul. It requires humility to truly be saved. One must be willing to realize he’s not right and God is.
…quickened us together: alive together: by spiritual power to arise and invigorate: metaphorically used to describe seeds turning into life: germinating, springing up, growing_ Strong's.
While it cannot be understood by the natural mind, salvation has resulted in the sinner born of Adam sharing with Jesus. His cross is our cross, His death is our death, and His burial is our burial.
This speaks of what scholars call our vital union with Him: connected to the vine John 15
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
…raised us up together: to rouse from death: revivify
We were dead in sin, but in Christ, we’re revived to a new life.
…made us sit together: to cause to sit down together: to have seat in company with
This is a very difficult concept for the Christian who doesn't understand that he's truly forgiven, but seated is a posture of rest. Jesus did His work. His work is a finished work, so He sits. His work was completed for you, so you are seated in Him.
The thought of rest
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Certainly there is work for the kingdom that remains; however, the Christian operating with his spiritual eyes having been opened, understands that he works from a position of rest. In other words seated in Christ, in heavenly places, the Christian receives strength from another source; truthfully, he becomes the vessel of God, through which Jesus lives His life: Galatians 2:20
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
When two beasts of burden (work) are yoked together for the purpose of hauling or plowing, there is always a mature animal, who knows what he’s doing, yoked with a younger animal. As I have studied this thought in the past, I learned that when this process is started, the younger, weaker animal isn’t even pulling the load; instead, he’s just following the lead of the elder. In a similar fashion, it’s imperative that the Christian gain this insight: Jesus is the load bearer; He is the “workhorse” in this team; and we must learn to let Him carry the burden in order for the kingdom’s work to really be accomplished.
And when the believer begins to operate in this place, where he remains connected to the vine, seated in Christ, trusting in the finished work of Christ, realizing that all this is a gift from God, and that it's not of His own doing, God will use him greatly.
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
The thought of God showing the exceeding riches of His grace towards the saints is that the redeemed ones will be put on display for all creation to see the riches of God's mercy. In some way you become a trophy, you're part of the memory of the victory as the ages roll along; of course, we cannot forget those nail scarred hands. The book of Revelation refers to Jesus five times as the Lamb of God in the last two chapters of the Bible, even after the new heavens and the new earth, even after Satan is completely destroyed, the cross is remembered. And we are the trophy won through the war. What a glorious day that will be in those ages to come:
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.
The following stanza was written by an an anonymous author, often replacing the sixth stanza, or inserted as the fourth.
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Your soul represents a trophy in the display case of God! How many more are there? How many at work? How many next door?
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
We've discussed this before, but salvation is a gift, and the specific gift of salvation is righteousness, Romans 5:17
The gift of righteousness is granted by God through grace to the "faithing" woman or man. God's part was the giving of His righteous Son as payment for the penalty of our sin. Our part is to receive by faith the gift of righteousness, resulting in salvation. What a blessing to have that burdened rolled away that previously plagued our person. Did you feel that Christian? When you made that step towards God and bowed your knee to Him, asking forgiveness of your sins, did you feel that release? How do you explain that to someone? Help me tell them Lord what you've done in my life!
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Sadly, many in the church today have attempted to live their righteousness through works, thinking that their daily righteousness was different than their original gift of righteousness. No you're in the gift. You're supposed stay in Him. Don't leave this place right here Christian. This is the safe place to abide-- "In Christ."
When you begin to think it’s what you do that makes you righteous you enter a place called relative righteousness or self- righteousnes. This place isn't in Christ. Relative righteousness is self righteousness determined in the heart of the religious by comparing or relating their righteousness to some other standard other than Jesus. This is the religion of the Pharisee when compared to the tax collector in Luke 18:10-14
For we are his workmanship (a thing that is made), created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are being created in Him. There is a process of molding taking place. Since the fall of man, there is an ongoing conforming of humanity into a child of God or a child of disobedience. Just as Adam was formed into the image of God, man is being conformed into an image today.
And once again, this conforming is a molding after a pattern. We are either being molded after Christ, or we're being molded after the world.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
While the ultimate result of the conforming process will be the glorification of the believer after his resurrection, this passage describes the fact that not only was salvation, which is also known as justification, because if you will remember, we learned in the past that justification is God’s declaration that a sinner is righteous after they placed faith in the plan of God: Jesus Christ and Him crucified predestined "In Christ," but also sanctification, and lastly glorification are also predestined in this place or plan called "In Christ."
Conformed (Symmorphus)- sym or sum- to be added or joined. Morphus- shaped.
Symmorphus...formed; fashioned like unto.
(Ephesians…we are his workmanship)… (conformed to the image of his Son …Romans)
In this thought the believer, through his connection with Christ, is being molded by the hand of God through the sanctification process. Just as a reminder, the word sanctified is the same word in the Greek where the word holy comes from. It's imperative that Christians understand that sanctification, or the process where one is conformed, being molded by the hand of God to look more like Jesus is both positional and progressive. It's both a state of being and a state of changing.
In other words, through salvation, we were miraculously placed into the person of Christ, where the verdict over our lives was changed from guilty to innocent, which gives us access back into the life changing power of God, where we are, once again, being conformed or molded into the image of our glorious savior. We spoke about it a couple of weeks ago that our purpose was to bring God glory. The only way we can bring God glory on this earth is if our lives reflect the love of our Savior, and the only way that can happen is if we understand how sanctification or the making of one holy takes place.
The alternate molding is where one allows themselves to be molded from an outside source. In this scenario, they are willingly partaking in the process and molding themselves according to the standard of the world:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
A living sacrifice is one who's "old man," born of Adam has died and his "new man," born of Christ is living. Paul exhorts those born again from the dead not to mold themselves according to the pattern of the world; instead, let the new life of God permeate your mind, allow the work of the Word and the Spirit to transform you towards the things of God.
The word for transform here in the Greek is where we get our word metamorphosis. Just as a caterpillar has butterfly DNA in its pre- butterfly state and must be transformed to become what it was created to be, the believer has become a partaker of the divine nature, and must allow the word of God and the Spirit of God to begin the process of transforming his heart and his perception of the world around him.
The alternative is that the person allows the world to conform or mold them according to their image.