The Nature and Universality of Spiritual Death
Ephesians 2:1
And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

To explain the context and show you the connection, I shall make two short remarks. The one is, That the apostle had observed in the nineteenth and twentieth verses of the foregoing chapter that the same almighty power of God, which raised Christ from the dead, is exerted to enable a sinner to believe. The same exertion of the same power is necessary in the one case and the other; because, as the body of Christ was dead, and had no principle of life in it, so, says He, ye were dead in trespasses and sins; and therefore could no more quicken yourselves than a dead body can restore itself to life. Death is a state of insensibility and inactivity, and a dead man is incapable of restoring himself to life; therefore the condition of an unconverted sinner must have some resemblance to such a state, in order to support the bold metaphor here used by the apostle. To understand it aright we must take care, on the one hand that we do not explain it away in flattery to ourselves, or in compliment to the pride of human nature; and, on the other hand, that we do not carry the similitude too far, so, as to lead into absurdities, and contradict matter of fact. A sinner dead in trespasses and sins may be a living treasury of knowledge, an universal scholar, a profound philosopher, and even a great divine, as far as mere speculative knowledge can render him such; nay, he is capable of many sensations and impressions from religious objects, and of performing all the external duties of religion. Trespasses and sins are the grave, the corrupt effluvia, the malignant damps, the rottenness of a dead soul: it lies dead, senseless, inactive, buried in trespasses and sins. Trespasses and sins render it ghastly, odious, abominable, a noisome putrefaction before a holy God, like a rotten carcase, or a mere mass of corruption: the Vilest lusts, like worms, riot upon and devour it, but it feels them not, nor can it lift a hand to drive the venom off. You have seen that the metaphorical expression in my text is intended to represent the stupidity, inactivity, and impotence of unregenerate sinners about divine things. This truth I might confirm by argument and Scripture authority; but I think it may be a better method for popular conviction to prove and illustrate it from plain instances of the temper and conduct of sinners about the concerns of religion, as this may force the conviction upon them from undoubted matters of fact and their own experience.

I. Consider the excellency of the Divine Being, the sum total, the great Original of all perfections. How infinitely worthy is He of the adoration of all His creatures! how deserving of their most intense thoughts and most ardent affections! Yet how insensible are we and all men to His perfections and majesty. The sun, moon, and stars have bad more worshippers than the uncreated Fountain of Light from which they derive their lustre. Kings and ministers of state have more punctual homage and more frequent applications made to them than the King of kings and Lord of lords. Created enjoyments are more eagerly pursued than the Supreme Good. Search all the world over, and you will find but very little motions of heart towards God; little love, little desire, little searching after Him. The reason is, men are dead in trespasses and sins.

II. The august and endearing relations the great and blessed God. sustains to us, and the many ways He has taken to make dutiful and grateful impressions upon our hearts. What tender endearments are there contained in the relation of a Father! Now the name of a father is wont to carry some endearment and authority. Children, especially in their young and helpless years, are fond of their father; their little hearts beat with a thousand grateful passions towards him; and they fly to him upon every appearance of danger: but if God be a father, where is His honour? here, alas! the filial passions are senseless and immoveable. And is not a state of death a very proper representation of such sullen, incorrigible stupidity? Living souls have very tender sensations; one touch of their heavenly Father's hand makes deep impressions upon them. Concluding reflections:

1. What a strange, affecting view does this subject give us of this assembly!

2. Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, that Christ may give thee light. The principle of reason is still alive in you; you are also sensible of your own interest, and feel the workings of self-love. It is God alone that can quicken you, but He effects this by a power that does not exclude, but attends rational instructions and persuasions to your understanding.

3. Let the children of God be sensible of their great happiness in being made spiritually alive. Life is a principle, a capacity necessary for enjoyments of any kind.

4. Let us all be sensible of this important truth, that it is entirely by grace we are saved. If we were once dead in sin, certainly it is owing to the freest grace that we have been quickened; therefore, when we survey the change, let us cry, "Grace, grace unto it."

(President Davies, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

WEB: You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins,

The Dead Man
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