Hope for Dead Bones

The idea of walking skeletons seems like something out of a Dungeons and Dragons board game or a scene from Bruce Campbell’s classic movie Army of Darkness.  A bunch of bleached bones getting up and walking around by their own power seems ridiculous. As it should.  Which is why the Bible uses this illustration to describe the condition of man outside of God’s salvation.  Dead. Dried  Up. But in Christ this heap of bones have hope. Not because of their own power (they have none), but because of the power of God.  Author and pastor Joshua Harris describes this hope in his book  Dug Down Deep:

Dead bones brought to life [Ezekiel 37:1-14]. That’s a picture of how God saves people. We have no life in ourselves. No human desire or effort can impart life. How can we live? Only by the bidding of God. Only by the power of the mighty Word of God breathing life into dead people.

Jonah 2:9 says, “Salvation belongs to the Lord!” It’s true. Salvation is the supernatural work of God in the human soul. It is owned by God. Only he can give it. It depends solely on the power of God and the grace of God.

This perspective of salvation is incredibly humbling. If salvation isn’t ultimately because of my spiritual insight, my discovery, my inner goodness, my effort, or my religious work, then I cannot save myself. It doesn’t matter what family or church I’ve been born into. It doesn’t matter how moral or religious or respected I am. In this sense the message of the gospel is very bad news for human ingenuity and pride.

But at the same time, it’s very good news for people whom Jesus described as “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3) – people who know they can’t save themselves, people who realize that their spiritual poverty and helplessness. For these people, the gospel imparts hope. Because if God is truly the central figure and actor in salvation – if his choosing, his searching, his calling, his grace, his regenerating power giving new life is what makes salvation possible – then no one is beyond hope.

And this is incredibly good news. It means that God can save anyone. Even me. Even you.  ( p 126)

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