#700: Remembering What We Were

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Reflections by the Pond
March 23, 2015

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins...

Ephesians 2:1

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When we forget what we once were, thus pretending we have always been what we are, we forget that what we are is not of our doing. And as we forget how we began, the importance of Christ in our life diminishes.

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No matter how young you were at the time, you did not begin with Christ.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.

Psalms 51:5

Man is born dying. It is common for us to refer to humanity as being born mortal, and only gaining immortality through salvation in Christ Jesus. But that is not true. Every person born of woman is born immortal; no matter the condition of the soul, human "death" is but a portal to one of two destinations. And both destinations are eternal.

Man is born corrupt.

"The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds."

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Need proof? What is it like being around a teenager who has never experienced parental discipline? Because of this, every person born of woman (save for one, of course) is born to immortal, eternal death.

Man is born wanting to forget what he is. This modern society rejects the principle of the spiritual depravity of man; its guiding light is that "people are basically good." This is demonstrably false, but since we are also born with selective memory, we deny truth in favor of the lie.

This clouds reason even in the Christian. How do you think of yourself? Be honest; don't you think of yourself as a basically good person who one day made the correct decision to follow Christ? That is, your inherent "goodness" contributed to your making the right decision for your eternity.

But that is not true. Your "goodness" in any quantity or capacity had nothing to do with it. Before Christ, you were dead in sin.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Ephesians 2:1-3

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Our ability, indeed our predilection to forget the corruption in which we began and lived before the Spirit brought us to Christ, plays a critical role in how we perceive and exalt the Savior. When we diminish that corrupt beginning in our aspect, we diminish as well the role of Christ in our salvation. Redemption, like grace, is of God, not man. The basis of our salvation—the blood of Christ Jesus shed on the cross—and the initiation of that salvation by the convicting Holy Spirit has nothing to do with our supposed goodness, and everything to do with God.

The truth is, God reached down into the muck and filth in which we were wallowing and raised us up to the clean righteousness of His Son—only because Jesus died for our sin. He paid the price, He suffered the agony of the cross, He died and was buried, but rose on the third day so that one day we would rise as well.

He did it all, and it is His righteousness we now wear—not our own.

For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:19