In a certain city there once lived a man who was a very hard worker. His dearest goal in life was to buy and own a house. To realize his dream, he dedicated himself to work day and night. Eventually, through his hard work, he was able to put away and save some money—enough to buy his dream house, he thought.
With great excitement he started to look for that dream house. But he was greatly disillusioned to find that the beautiful houses that most appealed to him were still beyond his means. And worse, the house he could afford were dilapidated “handyman specials” in need of much repair. He became very sad.
But just about the time he was ready to give up; he happened upon a vacant house on a corner with a sign that read, “For Sale.” He fell in love with the house at first sight. It was a white house, spacious and grand and its price was so low that it seemed they were giving it away. It was a real jewel, a dream house come true. According to the seller, it had only “one little defect.” It seems that the interior walls were all black? Every wall in every room was painted black. That was the reason the house was so affordable. No one, it seems, wanted to buy a house that was white on the outside, but all black on the inside.
But the man, eager to own the house, gave no importance to the little defect. He thought to himself that he could easily fix the problem of the black walls. So he bought the house right then and there.
Unfortunately, he soon found out that he had been mistaken; those black walls were not easy to change. You see, what made them black was not paint; rather, the walls were covered with dark stains and spots so dirty that they indeed looked like black paint. And nothing would get rid of those stains. First he tried soap, but that didn’t work. Then he tried a strong detergent, but that didn’t remove the stains. Then someone suggested he use white paint to cover the walls; surely that would do it.
So the man painted the walls once, then twice, and eventually, ten times. But instead of making them better, the walls looked worse. The dirty walls absorbed the paint and looked gray and blotchy in some places, but just as black as ever in other spots. The walls actually looked dirtier than before!
You can imagine how the man felt. But in his most desperate hour he found the answer to his problem. In a nearby town there lived a person who had invented something truly amazing: a special red paint. The man saw that the price was exorbitant. But he made a decision. He sold all he had (except his house) and purchased the red paint.
When he returned to his house with the black walls, he dipped his paintbrush into the red paint and applied it to the dirty, stained wall. Then the most amazing thing happened—the wall became clean, white and shiny with a stroke of the brush. Every place he applied the red paint the stains disappeared, and the wall were left clean—with just one coat! The man was overjoyed. Finally, the inside of his house was as white and beautiful as the outside. It was truly a place worthy to live in, and he did, happily…forever.
The house in our story represents our life and the black walls symbolize the dark stains of our sins. You and I might look good on the outside, but our spirits were dead (Ephesians 2:1) and our souls were utterly contaminated by our sin (Luke 11:33-36).
And what does the red paint represent? Yes, you guessed it; it is the precious blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord (1 Peter 1:18-20). His blood, shed for us on the cross, is the only cleansing agent that is powerful enough to wash away our sin. If you are in Christ, then you are free, forgiven and freshly cleansed forever.
Does man really have free will?
Can lost people decide for themselves to believe in Jesus and be saved?
These and other similar questions have been asked and argued over and over for last two millennia. I cannot begin to address or expect to answer them in this blog, but I will bring the Word of God to bear upon this matter.
“As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1)
“…having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” (Ephesians 4:18)
“…we were still sinners…we were enemies” (Romans 5:8, 10)
These verses are just a small sample of the condition of lost humanity. They are lost like sheep without a Shepherd; they are also blind, evil, sinful, hateful and spiritually dead. Mankind despises the light of heaven and loves darkness (John 3:19), oh and before I forget, every unbeliever is also a slave of sin (Read all of Romans 6).
…Which brings me to Ezekiel 37:1-14. In this vision, God shows to his prophet a valley filled with very dry bones and then He asks: “Can these bones live?” Now, you and I know that dry bones CANNOT live and therefore CANNOT exercise any kind of “free” will, because when you are dead in sin, your spirit is also dead and therefore you do not have the moral ability to choose what is right.
A dry bone---which symbolically represents the lost soul of an unbeliever---can ONLY live again by the regeneration brought forth by the Word of God. It was the breath of God which gave life to the lifeless statue of Adam (Genesis 2:7) and it is the Word of God that brings faith and salvation to our hearts (Romans 10:17).
This is exactly what is portrayed in this vision. God commanded the prophet to “prophesy” to the bones and as he did, the bones got together, new bodies were formed and the Spirit of God brought life to all of them (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
These verses were a future prophecy for the reunification of Israel. After many centuries they returned to Palestine and became a nation. The prophecy is only partially fulfilled, as one day the remnant of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).
Sinners---Gentiles or Jews---are the dry bones waiting to hear the sweet music of the Gospel that can give eternal life to those who repent and believe. Preach the Word and dry bones will dance.