From Death to Life
Pastor Tony R. Nester
Some of you know the name of Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic Sister, ministering to the poor in New Orleans. While living in the St. Thomas housing project she became pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two teenagers, sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana's Angola State Prison. Although she condemned his murderous actions, she befriended him while he awaited execution in the electric chair.
She wrote a book about her experience entitled, "Dead Man Walking". "Dead man walking" refers to men on death row who are awaiting execution. The book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1996 the book was made into a movie staring Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen and Sean Penn as a death row inmate.
The title, "Dead Man Walking," refers to men who are alive, but are already dead. Their life is over. They have no future. Death surrounds them as they await their sentence. They are dead men walking.
In today's Scripture the Apostle Paul announces that every sinner -- and the Bible says that we have sinned -- is a dead man or dead woman walking. Sinners seem to be alive but are in the truest sense spiritually dead.
In the first seven verses of Ephesians Chapter Two Paul paints an awful portrait of what life is like outside of the redeeming love of Christ.
"You were dead," writes Paul, "through your trespasses and sins."
"You were disobedient," he adds, "following the course of this world, and the ruler of the power of the air." The power of the air is a reference to Satan whom the Bible calls the ruler of this evil age. Paul says that this is the spirit that is now at work among all who are disobedient to God.
"You were depraved, as we all were," continues Paul, "living out of the passions of the flesh and its desires."
"And you were doomed," Paul concludes, "as children under the wrath of God."
Dead ... disobedient ... depraved ... doom ...
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