Ephesians 2:1-3

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under the wrath as the others were also.”

Verse one in Ephesians 2 is following after the beautiful ending of chapter one, where Paul describes the power of God in raising Christ from the dead. It is important to keep this in mind as he moves into describing our past state. He describes us as dead. That is what we are going to look at today. And praise God, that for believers, that is our past state!

He says we were dead in our trespasses and sins. I looked at gotquestions.org to see the difference between these two words. Sin means to miss the mark. It’s failing to do what is right. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Trespassing is described as crossing a line or climbing a fence that once that one should not cross or climb. We are all familiar with ‘no trespassing’ signs! To me, it seems like a more intentional act. Paul is covering both active and passive sins.

Here’s the thing. This covers all of us. None of us can say, “well I’m not that bad. I try to do my best.” Alistair Begg, in his sermon on this passage (accessed on truthforlife.org) says there are no degrees of dead. We were all dead men walking. Romans 3:10-12 says “As it is written, there is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.” We are all sinners.

Paul goes on to describe what that looks like. We were enslaved by our sin. The verse says we lived according to the ways of this world. I was listening to the Alisa Childers podcast (one of my favorites!) and she had John Cooper from Skillet on as her guest. He was saying that we now live in a post-Christian society and he was noticing the changes over the last few years. As a society, we are moving back toward voluntary segregation, something people had fought so hard to destroy during the Civil Rights movement. People open openly rejoice when someone they don’t like dies. Public civility is gone. Values that we as Christians have always held are now mocked. I challenge us as believers to be different. We are called to be salt and light, to be the shining city on the hill. Do not join in with the mockers. Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

Next Paul says we lived according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 1 John 1:3 says, “The one who commits sin is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works.”

Lastly, Paul says we too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts. Notice he says we all too. He includes himself. He uses the word all. He includes everyone. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. In Galatians, Paul describes what the works of the flesh look like. Galatians 5:19-21 says “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar…” Just in case you didn’t see any of your habits on the list, he added the ending of ‘anything similar’ to make sure he had you covered! The point is, we all sin and if you still are living that lifestyle, then are you truly trusting Jesus as your Savior? Galatians 5 goes on to describe what the fruit of the Spirit is. I encourage you to take a moment and read Galatians 5 if you haven’t read it before.

At the end of this passage, Paul writes that we were, by nature, children under the wrath as others were also. God cannot compromise with evil. He must condemn it. John Stott says in his book, “We need, I think, to be more grateful to God for his wrath, and to worship him that he always reacts to evil in the same unchanging, predictable, uncompromising way, because his righteousness is perfect. Without his moral consistency we could enjoy no peace.” God’s wrath is the reaction of absolute holiness to that which is opposed to holiness. Alistair Begg, in his sermon, states, “It is because he loves that he is opposed to all that is evil, in the same way that your cancer doctor loves you and is so opposed to the tumor that is in you that he will do everything in his capacity to remove it for your well-being.” Today we live in a world where rules are being changed all the time. Words take on new definitions and meanings. People get ‘cancelled.’ I take great comfort in knowing that my God does not change.” He is not indifferent to evil. He is absolutely holy.  As I was wrapping this up, the lyrics for the old hymn “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” kept running through my mind. He is the solid rock on which I stand.

Next blog post we will be looking at his great love for us. Remember at the beginning of this post how we connected the end of chapter one with the beginning of chapter two? Next time, we are going to look at how God made us alive in Christ. We were, by nature dead in our sin and trespasses, but God by his grace, has made us alive in him! Praise be to God!

Grace be with you!


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