“even as we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved —“
Okay, we have driven this point home repeatedly, but dead means dead and a dead man can do nothing to serve himself. Before we are born again, we are spiritually dead — commonly born dead on arrival in this world — and until God places sends his Holy Spirit into your sin-dead life, sin is all you pursue. Sin is all you can pursue. Sin is all you desire to pursue. Get the point?
Yet, notice the language about being made alive. God does not make us alive and send us on our way, no, we are made alive with Christ. In other words, our regeneration is not so that we can be spiritually alive on our own nor does it leave us to our own devices. Not at all. We are regenerated with the aim of being bonded to Christ and that works itself out in the life of the Church, which is the body of Christ. People today will foolishly say that they can be spiritual apart from the church. That is about as sensible as saying that a body part can stay alive apart from the body. If a limb is amputated, the body will go on living but the amputated part will wither, die, and rot. True, a digit may survive for a short time if preserved in ice…but it will only survive if grafted back onto the body (this is how church discipline is designed to work!).
Do not be misled, brothers and sisters. God has called us to identify with a True Christian Church. True, you ask? Yes, one that practices the sacraments properly as Jesus taught them, one where the whole council of God is preached from the Scriptures, and one where church discipline is practice for the chastening of sin. The Belgic confession says that if your church does not actively pursue these three things; flee for your life — your spiritual life that is! — and find a church that has all of these marks (even if that means driving a ways to do so — it is good for your soul). Too many churches will lull your soul to sleep rather than enlivening and enlightening it.