Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
Ephesians 2:1-10 is one of my favorite portions of scripture, perhaps even my favorite. I find those ten verses to be so rich in God’s love, grace and salvation that when I read it, it fills my heart with a deep thankfulness for the wisdom and ways of God. It seems to me that the theme of this passage is God so transforming and changing us, that we can say that we have been, “made alive”.
Over the next little while, I’m going to go through the passage verse by verse, listing some thoughts, ideas, and observations from them. Today is verse 1:
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins (ESV)
1. …”you” is universal. Paul was addressing the church at Ephesus, and through his words, the Holy Spirit addresses each of us. Among those who are saved, there are no exceptions to what Paul is saying.
2. …”dead” is a strong term. It is not the same as “jaded” or “distracted” or “mistaken”. Dead means lifeless, and unable to experience life. “You were dead,” tells us that there was a time when each of us was, in some way, dead. Paul is referring to a spiritual death, an inability within each of us to sense, hear, or see God. Our spiritual disposition towards God was that of a dead person.
3. What made us this way? Firstly, our “trespasses”. A trespass is an unlawful act committed on another person. The person in this context is God. Although we hurt each other with our actions, the ultimate victim is God (Ps 51:4). He is holy and righteous, and made us to be perfect and to glorify Him. Any rejection of that purpose is a trespass against God.
4. Secondly, “sin” has made us dead towards God. The word “sin” is often dealt with in a narrow way, that is, we think mostly about actions. And it’s true – sin does lead to evil actions. Others consider sin to be “out there” in the world, and to be avoided. And it is true that there are sinful things in the world that we want no part of. But those instances of sin are merely symptoms of a much larger, more sinister problem – that is, that sin dwells deeply in the heart of each person, and actually defines them (Matt 15:19). Because we are sinful at our core, we cannot know the true, living, holy God. Our hearts are dead towards Him, and do not desire Him. We create dead gods as substitutes for our dead hearts to worship.
Next: Verse 2…