February 5, 2018: The Dead are Raised

Ephesians 2:1 (KJV)
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Why do you despair, child of God, when you look around at your surroundings? For just a moment think of what you were and where you were when God found you? You were dead, you were lying in filth and refuse in the cemetery of the dead. Sin was not just heaped upon you, you were the very embodiment of all that was evil and vile.

The truth about you was clear to the all-seeing eye of Holy God. Wrath was your just due. Hell was opening its gates to receive you. Talk about a reason for despair and hopelessness, you were the picture of it.

O, but praise Jesus, something halted your free fall into the abyss. Something arrested your plunge into everlasting judgment. What was it that halted your bent to the destination of destruction? Was it your own efforts to stop your free fall? Was it the pleadings of your parent or some friend that brought the ruin of your soul to an end?

It was none of these things. You had no hope of being rescued, all ways out were powerless to save except one. This one was not what you were expecting or even hoping in because you had spurned his love too many times to count. Fact is, you had purposely fixed the only one who could redeem you on a cross, with nails you had personally driven. He was dead and it was your fault, it was your act that accomplished this. The only one who could redeem you was now dead and you were in a free fall toward everlasting destruction.

O, but thanks be to God the story does not end there. You could not have known this but it was your act of putting him on the cross that would be the very means by which you would be rescued. You had watched him expend his last life breath on the cross and now you were free from his watchful gaze.

A foreboding darkness now settled on your soul. This was a darkness that you could not have anticipated. It was darker than any darkness you had ever felt. It was a darkness and an evil of the soul that was now having free rein in your life. Terror of sin was strangling you, fear of certain judgment was rising up within and a terrifying dread entered your soul.  A voice cried out that hope was gone, hell was your destination and there was nothing you could do about it.

The freefall into certain judgment was yours and there was nothing you could do about it. Fear and terror grew with every second you fell into the abyss. Screams could be heard from those who were falling along with you and the terror that gripped you was overwhelming. Every second of your fall, your sins committed in your life were flashed before your eyes. You now saw this vile creature and what you saw horrified you. It was you, you saw in the reflection as you plummeted toward destruction.

The image you saw grew more and more vile with each passing second. You could not stand to see the image anymore, you closed your eyes to keep from seeing the vile creature you had become. Grief gripped you as you remember how the one you nailed to the cross treated you while you were alive. You remembered his eyes of affection for you, you remembered the times he allowed you to taste of his presence and experience his mercy. He should have destroyed you at first glance because he knew what you would do.

It was no now longer terror that gripped you but grief. Your screams were not of fear any longer but of overwhelming grief that you could spurn such a love as His. Something was happening now, the more you wept over your sin the slower you descent into the abyss. You no longer heard any screams of terror, you could only hear your own grief expressed over your sin. You wept for what seemed like days but then somehow your descent was arrested, your grief turned to joy. How could this be? This is not right. You saw your sin in all of its fullness yet here you were no longer grieving over your sin, terror had now dissipated and in its place was a growing joy and peace you had never known.

You felt your soul rising from the abyss. With each ascent toward the top, your joy grew. What awaited you at the top? What would your eyes see? Would it be some vista you had never imagined? There is no way you could have ever dreamed of this moment.

Your soul now ascending and when you reached the summit all at once your eyes were opened and you saw the light that surpassed every other light. There was no sun, or collections of suns, that could match the brilliance of this light. Every fear and terror you had ever felt now disappeared, ever sin you had ever committed was now erased from view. You have been brought into the kingdom of his dear son and what you now see you cannot begin to describe to anyone, it is beyond your greatest dream.

As you look around you see a figure in the center of the light and you are compelled to run toward this figure. He looks somewhat familiar but yet far different than the last time you saw him. The closer you get the greater your joy. When you see his face you now know Him and he knows you.

You want to jump into his arms and he opens his arms to receive you and you know it is him. When you embrace him you can feel the hole in his side, you can see the prints of the nails in his hands and feet. You are now home, forever free from sin in the arms of the one who loved you like no other.

Longing for the day when I can run to Him,

Pastor Phil

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