“…the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17)
That’s me! These two phrases perfectly reflect God’s work with me. I never thought I’d be excited about this verse, but it suddenly carries so much meaning for me.
Life to the dead - I was dead. Not just lost, not just lethargic, but dead.
*I was dead. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world.” (Romans 5:12-13)
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
I was dead in my sin. And yet God, Elohim, the creator of the universe, the One and Only, the Alpha and Omega, the holder of the keys to Death and Hades, He loved me.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. … We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:10, 19)
“When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:4-10)
“For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:15-17)
It is God’s grace and mercy alone that led to Him sending Christ to take my faults and anger and illnesses and sorrows (“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” ~Isaiah 53:4-6) . He took them all upon Himself, suffering for all the stupid things I have done, the anger I have succumbed to, the harsh words and evil in my heart. And he imparted righteousness to me. Me! The wretch that I am is now called righteous through faith in Christ – faith that He gave me.
My life in Him is dependent on His mercy: “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:16)
Calls things that are not as though they are
How often He has called me what I, on my own, am not:
*Righteous – “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness!” (Romans 6:17-18)
*Holy & Pure – “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:15-23)
*Child of God and co-heir with Christ – “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” (Romans 8:16-17)
*Containing a spirit of power, love, and self discipline (“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” ~2 Timothy 1:7)
*Useful – “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-30)
*More than a Conqueror – “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
*A teacher – which is a very long story!
Wow! Praise the LORD!