And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
1. The process. This is a history of spiritual lift. It reverses the order of natural history. Instead of "funeral marches to the grave," we have a resurrection gladness, as the soul grows upward from death to life eternal.
I. THE PROCESS BEGINS WITH DEATH. The death here referred to is not a future penalty, but the past condition of many men and the present state of all others.
1. There is a spiritual death in the midst of natural life. The body is flushed with the glow of health; the intellect is keen in worldly affairs; but the spirit is dead. The busy life of the lower nature may hide the scene of death, but it cannot destroy it, and to right-minded observers this noisy energy is painful and revolting like the revelry of a wake. Spiritual death bears all the hideous marks of real death:
(1) a failing of spiritual strength;
(2) a loss of faculties of spiritual discernment - Divine truth fades from the darkened vision, the ear of conscience grows deaf to the voices of heaven;
(3) an unconsciousness of its own mournful condition - the spiritually dead give no more evidence of realizing their condition than we can see in the mute, immobile countenance of a corpse;
(4) the commencement of corruption - the dead soul rots and spreads a miasma of sin.
2. Spiritual death is caused by sin. There are positive "trespasses," in which men go beyond the bounds of the lawful and commit what is forbidden; and negative "sins," in which people miss the mark, fail of their duty, and omit what they ought to do. Both have fatal consequences - the one killing with the poison of bad thoughts, imaginations, and affections; and the other with an atrophy of spiritual organs that waste away for want of exercise.
3. Innumerable influences provoke to sin:
(1) from without, in the general customs of the times, "the course of this world," and. indirect temptations, "the prince of the power of the air;"
(2) from within, in bodily appetites, "lusts of the flesh," and in mental propensities, "desires of the mind." The resulting condition of death becomes a second nature, normal and chronic; yet it is not the less odious in the sight of God, but rather the more so, treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath.
II. THE PROCESS RESULTS IN LIFE. The life is described in three stages.
1. A past quickening. "He quickened us." This is accomplished in the Christian. It is what Christ calls being "born from above" (John 3:3), and St. Paul, a "new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
(1) It is not an external change, such as the removal of penalties, the gift of blessings, and the entrance to a place called heaven, but an internal change in the soul of the redeemed.
(2) It is not the soothing of a troubled conscience nor the endowment of mere comfort and happiness, but life - energy, Fewer, activity - life that begins with painful cries and the awakening of sad repentance rather than with peace and comfort. The other blessings may be added, but this is first and most essential. It is useless to load the grave with treasures. The dead soul must come out of the tomb before it can be loosed from its cerements and enjoy its inheritance.
2. A present exaltation. "Raised us up;" "Made us sit with him in heavenly places." Lazarus comes forth from the tomb. The Christian does not linger long among the scenes of his miserable past. He is not forever sitting on the stool of the penitents. In his new life he walks in God's sunlight, he breathes the free air of heaven, he is called to a high vocation and endued with glorious privileges.
3. A future blessedness. The Divine life is but in the germ on earth. Its fairest flowers will bloom on a happier shore and its sweetest fruits ripen in a sunnier climate. There are "exceeding riches" of grace to be revealed in "the ages to come." The life for which they are preparing is eternal. No disease will blight it, no age bring it decrepitude, no death lay it low. As it develops eternality, so will the riches of Divine love fill it in an ever-increasing abundance. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;