Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)…
1. Man's misery commends God's mercy (Ezekiel 16:8, 4, 5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:8; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:10).
(1) If we would see the love of God, we must get a true knowledge and sense of our natural condition. Dead men, in whom there is not by nature the least spark of spiritual and heavenly life: our natural life being but a shadow of life: it is but a goodly vizor drawn over a dead and rotten corpse. The consideration of this will work true humility.
(2) This also is a ground of hope that God will never leave us; for that mercy of God which when we were dead put life in us and quickened us, will now much more help us and comfort us in all our miseries (Isaiah 49:15; Romans 5:10).
2. Man has no power or disposition to save himself.
3. The believer is brought to partake of the life of God.
(1) The life of God is nothing but the created gift of grace which frames the whole man to live according to God, or supernatural grace giving life, and bringing forth motions according to God, as the natural life.
(2) The power of God alone, with the Word and Sacraments, give this life.
(3) The order in which this life is wrought.
(a) There is a taking away of sins, for while we live in them we are in death.
(b) There is a taking of life in our behalf.
(c) A holding out of these things, with the voice of God unto the soul (John 5:25). A receiving of Christ, a forgiving of our sins, and quickening with the Spirit.
(4) The property of this life is eternal; it has no ending. Christ being raised, dieth no more, nor a Christian.
(5) How may we know that we have this life?
(a) Every life seeks its own preservation; as natural life seeks that which is fit for that life, so does this spiritual life that which is fit for itself. As the life is immortal, so it seeks immortal food by which it lives to God; the life of grace is maintained by bread from heaven, from the living God.
(b) Every natural life, in the several kinds of it, seeks its preservation of him and by him who is the author of it; children of their parents, etc. So here they that are quickened with the life of God are ever and anon turning to Him as their Father, crying and calling upon Him for supply in all their wants.
(c) He who has this spiritual life in any measure is sensible, and ever complaining of spiritual death, and of corrupt nature, the sight of which is most noisome to his sense.
(d) Life is active and stirring. If I see an image still without motion, I know for all the eyes, nose, etc., that it has no life in it: so the want of spiritual motion in the soul toward God, and the practice of godliness, argues want of spiritual life.
(e) Love to the brethren (1 John 3:14).
Parallel VersesKJV: Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)