If you’ve ever watched an episode of The Walking Dead, or movies of their kind, you would be familiar with the horrifying sight of the “living dead.” The sight of their ghastly features, sunken eyes, grossly discolored skin, and rotting flesh hanging from their bones may seem off-putting to us, normal human beings. Ironically, we forget that these creatures reflect the fallen condition of mankind. After Adam and Eve took that bite of the forbidden fruit in Eden, our entire race became corrupted and disfigured by sin—we were no different than the undead. Ephesians 2:1-3 said, we were dead in our transgressions and sins, bound to follow the world as slaves of spiritual wickedness. The state of spiritual death is to conform to the desires of the world and its false ruler: Satan.
Paul, the writer the letter to the church in Ephesus was previously known as Saul of Tarsus. Saul was a man of noble Roman and Jewish heritage, he strictly lived according to the Law of Moses, he zealously persecuted Christians, and he was a disciple of Gamaliel—the most respected Pharisee at that time (Acts 22:3). But despite being looked up to by many people for his righteousness life, Paul considered his old life “dead,” and his title and social status “rubbish” (Philippians 3:8).
After his personal encounter with God, Paul understood that the difference between living a life of death and a life of true living is not a matter of carrying out religious laws. His eyes were opened to the ultimate good news of the gospel: Grace is a gift of God through faith in his son, Jesus Christ.
Interestingly, now that we have been set free, God still doesn’t demand of us to carry out good works. He only demanded of us to love Him. Why does the Lord want our heart instead of the labors of our hands? Have you ever been in love, or seen someone in love? A man in love will never consider anything he does for his beloved a burden or a chore. I know a friend whose boyfriend purchase hundred of dollars worth of tickets just to see the face of his beloved.
A true transformation cannot be seen from one’s religious deeds, but from a heart that truly loves the Lord. Yes, Saul may look like a righteous man, but his devotion was driven by his idolization of the Laws of Moses, not his love for the Lord.
While we may not idolize the same things Saul did, we may still idolize other things in our heart. What are the idols in our lives that are keeping us enlaved to the wrong ruler? Is it our family? Our career? Ourselves? Only Christ can make us truly alive in the midst of the world’s brokenness.