“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
— Ephesians 2:1-3
Of course they are there, always. The stars don’t go into hiding when the sun comes up, they don’t burn out overnight, nor do they run off to some far away galaxy returning to ours when the sun sinks below the horizon. Just like the sin that separates us from God, they are there; you just don’t see them clearly until darkness falls; the deeper the darkness, the more luminous they become, the more unambiguous our sin.
Have you ever asked why jewelers use a dark background like black velvet to display their choice diamonds? It allows you to see the exquisite beauty of the stones in more vivid detail. Every facet shimmers in a dazzling display. In the same way, Paul sets God’s grace against the darkness of death that we might clearly see the sin that separates us from him, and the beauty and immeasurable value of the grace and mercy he offers in Christ. As J. C. Ryle has said, “Christ is never fully valued until sin is clearly seen.”
Like the rising sun that overpowers the stars, the blood of Jesus overpowers sin. Not just to cover sin, as the morning sun is to the stars, and was so under the old covenant, but to remove sin once and for all. To this scripture declares,
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” — 1John 1:7
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” — John 1:29
“You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” — 1 John 3:5
“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” — Psalm 103:12 NLT
Let’s sing together. . .
“The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace.”
—Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin