Being Dead

I’ve been pregnant. Five times in fact. And I’ve been in a state of non pregnancy, obviously. But I’ve never been a little bit pregnant. With pregnancy you either are or you are not pregnant. You can’t be a little bit pregnant.

Life is like that too. You are either are alive or you are not. You can’t be a little bit alive.

Death is the same. You are either dead or you are not. You can’t be a little bit dead.

“… the Holy Spirit must get in to our insides and there apply the work of the Cross and Resurrection in destroying the old death and bringing the new life.”
~Geoffrey Bingham

We had a farm with many animals. I know what it’s like to kill an animal and bury it. I was also a nurse. I’ve cared for terminal patients and cared for the bodies of dead people. There’s not much middle ground there. Try as one might, there is no way to get a dead body to do respond to stimuli. It simply cannot. It has no mind, no will. It cannot be reasoned with, manipulated, encouraged or cajoled.  A dead animal cannot will itself to life or to change. Dead is dead. Without life.

Yet, as Christians we often expect this very unnatural law of other people. People who are not believers, who have not been born again, who have not been drawn to God, repented and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. Without God, mankind is dead in their sins. I was dead in my sin before God revealed Himself to me. I was dead. Incapable of choosing life, incapable of getting up, dusting myself off and putting on new clothes. Why or how do we expect those who are dead to the things of God to love Him, respond to him and live according to His ways?

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the bodyt and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
~Ephesians 2: 1-9

With what resources do we expect [spiritually] dead people to arise from death and live? Will power? A desire to live a clean life? They’re dead. Incapable of response. How can they choose the action to live?

What choice does a baby have to be born? He/she doesn’t. The earthly decision to be born is the result of the parents decision. An external force, if you will. Spiritual birth is similar! It is a work of God.

That’s how it was in my life. I was dead in my sins- it’s not like I had the wherewithall or the reseources to do it myself. God picked me up, dusted me off and breathes his life into me through the blood of Jesus. The decision to give birth is that of the Supreme, Divine parent – our father, God the Creator of All. It’s His decision!

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
~Colossians 2:13-14

So why do we expect godly behaviour and attitudes from those who have not been made alive in Christ? Why are we shocked when dead people act dead? Let us not be guilty of putting pearls and fine linen on a corpse for appearance sake. Let’s pray and preach the good news of Christ for the dead’s sake- that they may hear the word of God and be made alive.

Anyone who is involved in personal evangelism can share countless examples of persons who, though presently living in gross sin, will nonetheless tell the evangelist that they are fine because they “made a decision for Christ” a certain number of years ago. They have never had any change in their life; they have no interest in church, the Bible, or even God. But they have made their “decision.” Can we not see how dangerous such a system is to the souls of men?
~ Jim Ehrhard

That before the creation of the universe God thought of me! For some reason known to himself, He chose me to be on his team. He didn’t choose me because I had made a decision (for I was dead in my sin when I realised that I was on God’s team). He didn’t choose me because I am holy or righteous. Rather, that through Christ I might become holy. All that I am is grounded in the fact that God freely chose me. What then do I have to boast about except His goodness, His mercy, His grace?


  1. Marvelous to think upon! While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He loved us with an everlasting love and we love him because he first loved us.

  2. When I read this in my mail, I thought.. what a well written, concise explanation of this doctrine, I wonder what bought her to post it. Then a little bird told me there was a discussion over at the forum that had reached eight pages and she thought it would be right up my alley… :D

    I can’t find it!

    But I’m still glad to see your thoughts here so clearly and plainly expressed. :-)

    • And you would have loved the discussion…and your input would have been FANTABULOUS. But I suppose you had to be off living life somewhere… LOL

  3. I read BB’s comment and went looking but without success on Aussie Homeschool. Wanna point us in the right direction? We wouldn’t want to miss any of the good stuff!

  4. Hi gals.
    Actually, this started out over a week ago as a facebook rant to a friend… then it developed to s blog post, and that very same day a conversation came up on AH in which I raved about ‘being dead’. It all seemed to happen at once, but it didn’t.

    Here are the threads… it gets tricky, because there are a few spin off posts but I’ll try ot put them in order:

    The Hunger Games started it all but it isn’t necessary to start there.

    Who’s orchestrating the world thread?

    Freewill or not is where is starts getting juicy ;)

  5. I read a few pages of one of the topics, Free willor not? Phew, I will get back to it some time. You have answered very patiently Susan :-) While answers popped into my head on almost every post I don’t think it would serve to wade in. I do get rather sad that people who believe that God is sovereign in all things, including salvation, are labled so harshly. Our God is a very Big God. He does all things well. He is Just…….because we all deserve damnation. The Westminster confession puts it well I think in saying that some God has appointed to Eternal Life and some he has passed over. It is not some maniacal judge misusing his power but a righteous and just God sending those he has not elected to eternal life. And yes, of course there are hypers who will say everyone is lost, who take God’s Sovereingty and dismiss our responsibility. They are the ones who don’t pray for the salvation of others etc . Blah….I’ve been accused of that and it is very hurtful. May we all work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    P.S. Re King James version. Not sure about James personal life but the translators of that version were mostly “Calvinistic”. Funny how so many Arminian Churches have taken up the KJV only stance. My Independant Baptist Friends swear by it!

  6. Jenny Irving :

    When I first read this I wasn’t sure if I liked the dead body analogy. Why not? because a dead body cannot do anything and it seemed to me that while someone could be dead as far as life in Jesus was concerned, they could be petty spiritually active in lots of other ways.
    Then I was lying in bed last night thinking about dead bodies, lovely pleasant thoughts in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping, I know. Dead bodies can do something, they can decay and decompose. We can slow that process down quite a bit, with cold storage, embalming fluids, even doing the hair and make up for those who want a viewing, but in the end it is only slowing down the inevitable.
    Where am I going with this rambling? Being spiritually dead can be like this, it can look OK for a time, but in the end like a decaying body sin will lead to destruction. Jesus salvation offers the only true life.
    I’ve been thinking about the predestination/free will thread and am wondering if we make it far too complicated trying to separate it. Maybe our great God who knows everything Reaches out to save those he knows would respond? He has chosen those who would choose, Think about King David, nothing in his behaviour was worthy of being chosen by God, yet God looked at his heart. Does that make any sense at all?

    • Hi Jenny, To me that is the great marvel of God’s love. That he set it upon unworthy sinners such as David. Such as you and me! He saves those that he sets his love upon not because any good they have done or that he has forseen them doing, but to show forth his own glory. The wonders of God will never be fathomed by we poor wretched beings!

  7. Jenny Irving :

    Hi Ruby, that is so true, we need to remember not one of us has any hope of being righteous by our own efforts. We need to keep on trusting and remember that God is good and just and sees far more of the big picture than the little bit we can .
    My father used to tell a story about a man who died and went to heaven. The first person he saw was a man he had known on earth. They caught sight of each other and both exclaimed at once
    “I never thought I’d see you here”
    Only God can see the heart <3

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