Dead People Believing

Question

How can dead people believe in Jesus Christ for salvation? How can anyone be saved, if we are all dead? Ephesians 2:1

Answer

Ephesians 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.

Dead people can't believe! As former police detective having investigated some homicides I have seen death far too many times. And all of us have probably experienced it to some measure - a relative, friend passing away. I never saw a dead person solve their own case. I never experienced one getting off the floor and telling me "who done it." The dead are dead. They are lifeless. They say nothing. They can do nothing. They desire to do nothing. They are utterly helpless. They are at the mercy of others and the elements. As it is with the physical, so it is with the spiritual. The spiritually dead cannot save themselves - they have no desire(s) of God (Rom. 8:5-8; 1 Cor. 2:14, etc.). They are utterly helpless. What they call life is really just a spiritual stage of decomposition.

However, Paul does not stop at merely speaking about the dead. He says, "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" (Eph. 2:4-5). Did you see that? He MAKES US ALIVE!!! Regeneration (John 3:1-8, etc.) is an act of the Holy Spirit. God's regeneration makes one alive. Then, and only then, can one exercise faith and repentance (Rom. 10:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

An example may help:

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-45), Lazarus did not will it. He did not desire it. He couldn't. He was helpless. He had no power or will of his own. He was dead and decomposing! What happened? It was because of his love for Lazarus that Jesus did something: "Jesus called in a loud voice, Lazarus, come out! The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face" (John 11:43-44). He gave Lazarus life and Lazarus came forth! Only then could Lazarus will and desire.

God, because of his love, speaks to his children yet in the grave of their fallen condition and says, "Come Forth." Are you one of his? Has God in his mercy and grace spoken to you yet? Have you come forth, or are you yet decomposing in your sins? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (Acts 16:31). Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28). Come forth! Come forth!

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).