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  • Writer's pictureCandice Watters

Bad News, Good News (Ephesians 2:4-5)

But 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 —Ephesians 2:4-5

“I’ve got good news and bad news. What do you want to hear first?” 

That’s how my dad used to set up family announcements when he was going to tell us about a change of plans. Some of my siblings preferred the good news first, hoping it would outshine whatever followed. I always wanted the bad news first. It seemed best to take it straight up and hope the good news would stand on its own. Sometimes it did, like when Dad said, “the bad news is I can’t drive you to school today. The good news is that school is canceled because it’s snowing!” More often the bad news–something like “our trip to the zoo was canceled”–was more bad than the good news was good–”but we can fill the kiddie pool and play in the backyard.” 

Paul delivered the bad news first in our verses last week, and it’s really bad. Could there be worse news than being dead in our sin? It’s devastating. Thanks to my dad I recognize the bad news/good news unfolding in this week’s passage. The conjunction but tells me something good is coming. Still, nothing could have prepared me for the devastating blow of Paul’s “bad news first” declaration. We were one way–dead in sin–and would have stayed dead forever. There would have been no change in our reality were it not for what comes next. All of mankind is dead in sin, full stop. 

Then, a glorious conjunction. But means Paul is about to say something that reverses what he just said. He told us something true about us: we were dead in sin (2:1). Now he’s about to change direction and tell us several things about who God is and what He’s done. God is “rich in mercy” and He is motivated by love–“the great love with which he loved us.” What is it He’s motivated to do? God “made us alive together with Christ.” Notice that this didn’t happen when we were loving Him back. There is no credit to us. Our merciful, greatly loving God acted on our behalf “even when we were dead in our trespasses.” There it is again–that most horrible, awful bad news: we were dead. But God made us alive together with Christ. 

In our passage the good news explodes off the page. We were dead in sin, but God made us alive together with Christ. There is no better news. And all of this is by grace. We did nothing to earn it. Though in this life everyone will die a natural death, we who have been made alive together with Christ will be raised to be with Him forever:

...the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

May the words we speak to our fellow believers this week of Easter be full of the hope and encouragement of eternity with Christ.


For Reflection

  1. What does it mean that you were dead in your sin? 

  2. Now that you’re alive in Christ, how does remembering that make you feel?

  3. Praise God this week that you have been made alive through no effort of your own, and ask Him to empower you to obey Him in faith.


Candice Watters is a wife, mom, and editor of the Fighter Verses. She and her husband Steve are the co-authors of Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. They blog at


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