By Delroy Brooks

A few years ago, I began to notice a strange preoccupation with the dead. Not exactly the dead, but those who are thought of as “the living dead,” otherwise known as zombies. Zombies are alive, but have no life. They are animate creatures that are limited in their abilities and functions. In every iteration of this popular horror movie trope, zombies must feed on others in order to remain animate. The protagonists in these stories are usually running for their lives and trying to find a cure for zombism. For five seasons, one of the most popular shows on TV has been “The Walking Dead.” It features both those who have been made dead and those who are left alive.

There are many movies that deal with this subject matter to varying degrees. The sort of thing that used to scare you as a child has now become a part of popular culture. But before any of these movies, TV shows, or comic books were made, Paul told his own zombie story in the second chapter of Ephesians. Are you ready to hear it? It is the stuff of late night sleepovers and campfire tales. This story has a very familiar main character: you—yes, you! Paul begins this zombie story where every zombie story begins: with the truth of your (and my) death. The fact is, we are dead because of our sin (Romans 6:23). We are not only dead because of our sin, but we think we are living when we are in sin because the only way we can remain animate is to take part in the tearing down or the tearing up of others—because that is what sinners do. We have no other function. This death is spiritual, not physical, for unsaved people are very much alive physically. Death signifies the absence of communication with the living. One who is dead spiritually has no communication with God; he is separated from God. [1] He or she is the walking dead.

The good news is that although you were found this way, this way is not how you are going to stay! Paul assures us that “even when we were dead in our trespasses,” we have been brought back to life through Christ. The good news is that “by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5, ESV).

God has brought us back to life. He has made it so that we can be alive again! How did He do this, you ask? He has done it through Christ. It is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). We didn’t do anything to deserve this awesome gift, for it is by grace that we are saved. Not only are we made alive in Christ, but we are then raised with Christ and made to sit with Him in heaven. Ephesians 2:6 provides evidence for this, reminding us that God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (KJV).

He raises us together with Christ. It’s the grace of God that finds us in our dead state, literally breathing to death. He then enacts the new life protocol found in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish” (KJV). But as Ephesians 2:6 goes on to say, He also makes us to “sit together in heavenly places.” In order to sit in those heavenly places, I must have everlasting life. Thanks be to God that when I was dead, His grace came and quickened me. Thanks be to God that when I wanted to feed on others, His grace changed the menu. Thanks be to God that we no longer have to be the walking dead!

Delroy Brooks is senior pastor of the Juniper Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fontana, California. He is married to Dilys Brooks—a campus chaplain at Loma Linda University.

[1] H. W. Hoehner, “Ephesians” (Eph 2:1), in J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985).