the God that gives life to the dead

I’ve been slowly combing through the book of Romans in the last few days, and it’s incredible to see once again the vibrant life that can be found in the Word of God.  A particular phrase from Romans 4 stands out to me this evening:

“–the God who gives life to the dead, and calls things that are not as though they are.” from Romans 4:17.

That is the God that I serve.  The God who gives life to the dead, and calls things that are not as though they are.  Wow.

We get used to a certain reality.  We get used to seeing sin and its effects ruling and ruining our world, nation, city, neighborhood, family, and our own lives.  The Brett Dennen song says “there ain’t no reason things are this way, that’s how they’ve always been and they intend to stay, I can’t explain it, why we live this way, we do it every day.”  

We are used to what the bible calls death.  Sin (read: rebellion against God and his ways) always leads to death.  From the bible’s account of the Fall of Man until present day, we find that we always choose our own way — a way of death.  Our actions betray our hearts; anxious hearts that struggle but fail to trust that God is good, that he is in control, and that his way is best.  We always choose our own rule over God’s rule; our own ideas over his mandates; our own way over his way; the tree of knowledge of good and evil over the tree of life.  

And this choice always leads us to death.  Physically, spiritually, relationally, emotionally, you name it-ally.  Sin always leads to separation from God.  And separation from God shows up as brokenness, self-centeredness… hell.  Death.  This is the life that we live apart from Jesus.  One that is spiritually dead, as Paul puts it in Ephesians, we were “dead in our transgressions and sins.”  (eph 2:1)

But a few verses later, “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.” (eph 2:4-5).  

Why do I rejoice when I think about the God that gives life to the dead?  Because that’s what he’s done to me.  Not only do I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that Christians will be resurrected in the last day, but also I believe that what Jesus has done for me has already brought my heart from death into life.  

He truly makes all things new.  If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  God has not only given us an example in Jesus, but he has become our Savior.  He has not only forgive our sins with his death on the Cross, but he has liberated us from the grip of sin’s power in our lives by the indwelling of his Spirit.  

God looks at hearts gripped by the disease and effects of sin.  He sees lives ruined by the influence of a sinful, fallen nature.  And he speaks life into those dead hearts.  He call things that are not as though they were — and then they come into reality.  

The God whose spoken word brought the universe into existence, has spoken into my soul, “Be alive in me,” and my heart can’t help but start beating.  

Praise be to the God who truly gives life to the dead (past, present, and future), and calls things that are not as though they were.


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