When I was little kid and we would play games like cops and robbers, we would shoot our pretend guns at each other. Whenever I was shot, I would fall to the ground and as my friend approached me to finish me off, I would say in a low voice, "I'm dead". Oh, the silliness of a dead man informing others of his demise with a confirming voice. It's silly because dead men don't whisper "I'm dead", they just are. They don't whisper anything!
In the New Testament a guy named Lazarus was dead. He didn't whisper "I'm dead" to his friends and family. No, he was unable to do so. The bible makes it obvious when it reports that Lazarus was in a tomb for a few days and as the KJV eloquently puts it. "He stinketh". When Jesus arrived, as the rest of the story goes, Lazarus was resurrected from his tomb completely wrapped in his burial garment still emanating the stench of death. How did he rise from the dead? Simply by the word of God, namely the phrase "Lazaurus, come forth".
You see, if Lazarus couldn't tell people he was dead, then he sure couldn't ask Jesus to bring him to life. It just wasn't in him. He was dead. It's the same with spiritual birth. Dead in our sins, we carry its stench upon us until one day uninvited grace comes upon us and our hearts are regenerated and our faith is awakened. This is the greatest miracle God performs! I don't understand it fully, I just believe it!
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in 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— 3among 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. 4But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:1-9
Even our faith is a gift from God! If you are struggling with doubt, don't look back on some decision you made, whether you made it or not, if you followed some formula, or whether it was authentic. Look to the mercy of God! A.W. Tozer reminded us in "The Attributes of God", that God doesn't just have mercy, HE IS mercy! That means His mercy is infinite! We need to stop listening to the accuser who wants us to look to ourselves, and listen to God's Word which states emphatically that salvation is from Him. Not only do unbelievers need to hear that salvation is from God (the gospel), but believers likewise need to hear that their salvation was from God,(the gospel) not their own well meaning intentions!
Thank God He chose us before the foundation of the world! Thank God He still raises the dead!