Corpses can't climb ladders

Post date: 23-Sep-2013 13:53:50

Most religions in the world give you some set of observances, rituals, or good deeds by which you can get closer to God. And so many people see religion as a spiritual ladder by which you can climb, step by step, towards God. There's just one problem: corpses can't climb ladders. This week at CCC we were looking at Ephesians 2, where the apostle Paul says the following:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (Eph 2:1 NIV)

Before they started following Jesus, the Ephesians were spiritually dead, unable to relate to God. Far from being able to climb towards God, they were collapsed in a heap at the bottom of the ladder, unable to lift an eyelid, let alone put their foot on the first rung. That's why they needed God to do something, and that's why he sent Jesus. God makes spiritual corpses alive and doesn't just put their foot on the ladder - he lifts them right to the very top, as beloved children who can speak to him directly:

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 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. (Eph 2:4-7 NIV)

That's why true Christianity isn't about earning points with God - Jesus has earned all the points already. God views anyone who is "with Christ" - that is, relying on him alone - as morally perfect. Even the good deeds we do as Christians don't contribute towards our salvation - even those are given to us by God to do. He does all the hard work:

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:8-10 NIV)

Are you still trying to climb that ladder? The bad news is that you can't and the good news is that if you rely on Jesus rather than your climbing skills, he will carry you right to the top to enjoy God's love forever.

"Ladder To Sky" image courtesy of nattavut /".