Ephesians 2:1-3 – Life without Christ

June 13, 2020 at 12:37 PM Leave a comment

Paul starts chapter 2 describing what believers’ lives were like without Christ, before their conversion. It’s like he was starting by telling the Ephesian believers the bad news…first. Then eventually is the rest of the chapter he gets to the good news. You know what I mean? Do you want to hear the good news or bad news first?

v.1,“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.” When referring to being “dead” Paul is specifically talking about spiritual death. Those who are spiritually dead can still be alive physically. They just have chosen to not have relationship with God. Their “disobedience” and “many sins” have rendered them spiritually unresponsive and alienated from God and incapable of experiencing the full file that God could give them (Rom 6:23, 7:10). Sin is a failure in any sphere to be what we ought to be and could be. Other translations uses words like trespasses, transgressions, wrong things, bad things, and  things you did against God. They all mean the same thing “missing the mark.” It is a archery term where the mark is the bullseye but no matter how many times you try to hit it you miss. This is true of sinners, our natural tendency is to continue to sin and no matter what we do we will always miss the mark of being sinless. Because of our inability to stop sinning our sins, disobedience and rebellion against God lead to spiritual death.

v.2,“You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—commander of the powers of the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.” Before the Ephesian believers became believers they “used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world.” Instead of living for God they were living and acting like the rest of the sinners of the world. They’re lives were full of sinful acts, immoral lifestyles and godless motives. Just like the rest of the world they were “obeying the devil—commander of the powers of the unseen world.” Of course Paul is speaking of Satan. The NIV says “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” or AMP says “the prince of the power of the air.” Paul wants the believers to know Satan is real and he is the evil ruler with some amount of control in the world. The word “air” or in the NLT “unseen world” refers to the darkness of the world, which the devil prefers to work and where the evil spirits are, this is Satan’s sphere of influence. The idea behind the word “air” is that Satan is both invisible and powerful. It’s one thing to fight an enemy you can see, but its a whole different battle against a powerful enemy you can’t see. Paul again mentions that Satan is the “the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.” Satan is the ruler over the world order and the hearts of disobedient people. Paul is referring to unbelievers when he says “those who refuse to obey God.” Before people became believers they were under the controlling power of evil spirits that led them to disobey God, instead they obeyed Satan.

v.3,“All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.” Paul includes himself in the state of the believers were before they chose to follow Christ, he writes “all of us used to live that way.” He uses this phrase to include both Jews and Gentiles, himself included (Rom 3:23). “Passionate desires and inclinations” refers to things they did that felt natural to them. “Sinful nature” refers to unbelievers’ natural state without God (human nature, the flesh). It is self-centred and enslaved to it’s own desires. People all around the world commit sins everyday, this proves everyone has a sinful nature. Because of our sinful nature or “very nature” we are “subject to God’s anger.” This means that we deserve God’s judgment which is a personal, righteous, condemnation of evil and refusal to compromise with it. Paul finishes with we are “just like everyone else” meaning we are all in the same boat, we all are sinners like everyone else on the face of the planet, and because of our sin we deserve God’s judgment.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Paul describes in detail what all unbelievers are without Christ in their lives. They are spiritually dead because of their are disobedience and sin that runs rampant in their lives. They obey Satan (he is real) the prince of the power of the unseen world. Paul includes everyone in the last verse to say we all used to live this way following our sinful nature and sinful desires. Because of this we deserved God’s judgment, just like all the sinners of the world. But, the main point of Ephesians (good news), is not these three verses, but that God will not stop seeking us out. There is still good news to learn.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  Before I go on, I want to make a specific note to say this is the “bad news” from Paul about what people are before they accepted and met Christ. Or without Christ. But Paul eventually gets to the good news. These three verses are a great reminder to me that I can easily get back to living for my sinful nature and sinful desires if I am not staying closely connected to Christ. I need to be in the Word every day and constantly on my knees before him.

Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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