Great Gospel Texts: From Rags to Riches

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph 2:4-5 NKJV).

Death is a thief. There is no wealth, no affluence, no abundance, no luxury found in death. Death is a thief. It robs us of our breath; it steals away a husband from a wife, a mother from a daughter. All the riches we possess, all our wealth, all our material things are left behind at death. When the widow of a wealthy man was asked the question, “What did he leave behind?” she very honestly replied, “Everything he had.”

Do you stumble through life, searching empty spiritual pockets, carrying a barren spiritual bank account, and trying to offer something to God to satisfy Him for the debt you sense you owe? You can’t! You are broke. You are lost. You are dead in trespasses and sin. A dead person can’t do anything for themselves. Any good deeds we could offer God are like filthy rags in His eyes, like dead men’s robes, smelly grave clothes. We are dead in our sins before God, not just dying, but already dead. The Bible calls us “children of wrath” and “children of disobedience.”

But that’s where things take a turn. This verse stops us in our tracks and tells us that despite our dead condition, despite being on a road to perdition, God has stepped in and done something for us. But God. There was a time in history when a specific death was marked by the display of true wealth. The riches and blessings that flow from that death have not diminished in value since that day. But God.

The God who is rich and abounding in mercy (Psa 103:8), whose mercy is from everlasting to everlasting (v17), offers innumerable riches in the Lord Jesus Christ. The One who was incalculably rich, for your sake became poor, that we through His poverty may be made rich. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world, and He didn’t give all His possessions, resources, and treasures for you – He gave Himself. And so God, who is great in love and rich in mercy, can make the poorest of sinners rich.

Your sins may be great, great in offense and great in number, but the mercy of God is greater still. His mercy is great above the heavens (108:4). You may have a multitude of sins – lies, gossip, envy, fornication, addiction, disobedience – but God, in the multitude of His tender mercies, can forgive every sin (51:1). You, who have sought delight in sin and in darkness, can find forgiveness in the One who delights in mercy (Mic 7:18).

How is it possible? How can it be that people like us, who are poor, destitute, impoverished and dead in our sins, can experience indescribable richness from the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills? He says, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” He says to those who are dead, “I died so that you may live.” He says to the spiritually penniless and poverty stricken, “I became poor so that you could become rich.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Act 16:31 NKJV).