"THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS" Our Condition Outside Of Christ (2:1-3) INTRODUCTION 1. In the last half of chapter one, we saw where Paul mentioned several things for which he had been praying in behalf of the Ephesians: a. That they might know God - Ep 1:17 b. That they might know the hope of His calling - Ep 1:18a c. That they might know the glorious riches of His inheritance in the saints - Ep 1:18b d. That they might know the exceeding greatness of God's power toward believers - Ep 1:19 2. In a previous lesson we briefly noted that Paul equated this great power with the working of God that was exercised... a. In raising Jesus from the dead and exalting Him to be the head of all things - Ep 1:20-23 b. In our own conversion, when God took us who were "dead in sin" and made us "alive together with Christ" - Ep 2:1-7 3. In order that we might appreciate more fully the grace and power that was at work in our conversion, this lesson will focus on the description of our condition BEFORE our conversion a. For we will not likely appreciate our PRESENT wealth, unless we fully appreciate our FORMER poverty! b. Without a proper appreciation of our PRESENT wealth, we will not likely heed the exhortations found later in this epistle (e.g., Ep 4:1,17; 5:1-2) [As we consider, then, "Our Condition Outside of Christ", we learn that prior to our conversion we were truly "the walking dead"! For as Paul states at first, we were...] I. DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS (1) A. "DEAD" IN WHAT WAY? 1. Not in the sense of being devoid of ANY good or godly desires a. As some who believe in "Total Hereditary Depravity" would teach b. For consider that most of those people whose conversions are described in Acts were "God-fearing, Bible-believing" people BEFORE their conversion! 1) The thousands of "devout men" in Jerusalem for Pentecost - Ac 2:5 2) The Ethiopian Eunuch, who had traveled great distances to worship God and was reading Isaiah when Philip found him - Ac 8:27-28 3) Cornelius, a devout God-fearing Gentile who "prayed to God always" - Ac 10:2 4) Lydia, a prayerful woman "who worshipped God" - Ac 16: 13-14 5) The "fair-minded" Bereans - Ac 17:11 6) Saul of Tarsus (i.e., the apostle Paul) - Ac 22:3; Php 3: 4-6 2. Rather, "dead" in the sense of being "separated" from God a. Just as "physical death" is a separation of body and spirit - cf. Jm 2:26 b. So "spiritual death" exists when we are separated from God - cf. Ro 6:23; Is 59:1-2 B. THE CAUSE OF THIS "DEATH"... 1. Our separation from God has been brought about by "trespasses and sins" - cf. Ro 6:23 a. "trespasses" (deviations from the straight and narrow path, Hendriksen) - what we might call "sins of COMMISSION" b. "sins" (inclinations, thoughts, words, and deeds which "miss the mark" of glorifying God, Hendriksen) - including what we might call "sins of OMISSION" 2. "trespasses and sins" that WE committed... a. As made clear in verse two of this chapter ("in which you once walked...") b. Not those of our forefathers - cf. Ezek 18:20 [Before our conversion to Christ, then, we were "dead" because of our OWN sins, and as such, spiritually separated from God, even if we were as religiously devout as those described in the book of Acts. That should tell us something about the terribleness of sin! But the terribleness of sin becomes clearer as we learn what sort of "company" we kept before our conversion. For though "dead", we were...] II. WALKING WITH THE WORLD AND THE DEVIL (2) A. WALKING "ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD"... 1. Before conversion, one walks "in conformity with the customs and manners of the world at large" (Barnes) 2. The moral condition of those still "in the world" is described more fully in Ep 4:17-19 a. Alienated from the life of God because of ignorance and hardened hearts, those "in the world"... 1) Walk in the futility of their mind 2) Have their understanding darkened b. Being past feeling, those "in the world"... 1) Give themselves over to licentiousness 2) Work all uncleanness with greediness -- Sounds pretty much like our own present generation, doesn't it? 3. With keeping such "company" before one's conversion, you can understand why they are spiritually "dead" (separated from God) - cf. 1Jn 2:15-17 B. WALKING "ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR"... 1. Before our conversion, it is not just the "world" we walk according to, but "him" who Paul describes as: a. "the prince of the power of the air" b. "the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" 2. This can be none other than Satan himself! a. The great "Adversary" (the word "satan" literally means "adversary") who seeks to "devour" all he can
- cf. 1Pe 5:8 b. Those "in the world" are under his influence, captives to do his will - cf. 2Ti 2:26 3. Those still under his influence are called the "sons of disobedience", because they serve him rather than obey God! [Influenced by Satan, walking "according to the course of this world", we can see why a person before their conversion is truly "dead in trespasses and sins"! But is this also true of those devout, religious souls who are not yet "in Christ"? Like those devout Jews at Pentecost, the Ethiopian Eunuch, Lydia, the Bereans, Saul of Tarsus, and God-fearing Gentiles like Cornelius? Yes! For as Paul says in verse 3, "among whom ALSO WE ALL once conducted ourselves...". Yes, even the religiously devout before conversion to Christ were...] III. FULFILLING THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH AND MIND (3) A. BEFORE HIS CONVERSION, EVEN A RELIGIOUSLY DEVOUT PERSON LIKE PAUL... 1. Conducted himself "in the lusts of our flesh" a. "Living to gratify the flesh" (Barnes) b. As described in Ro 7:14-24, even one who desires to do good, outside of Christ finds himself "enslaved" to the "law of sin" in the members of his flesh 2. Fulfilled "the desires of the flesh and of the mind" a. The "desires of the flesh" are those "unrighteous cravings, such as belong to and are spawned by the flesh" (Hendriksen) b. The "desires...of the mind" would include "all kinds of hostile, self-righteous, and/or immoral plans and cogitations, which finally result in wicked deeds" (Hendriksen) B. THUS, EVEN RELIGIOUSLY DEVOUT PEOPLE BEFORE CONVERSION ARE "CHILDREN OF WRATH"... 1. "just as the others", Paul says, placing himself before conversion on the same level as the "sons of disobedience" described in verse two 2. All are "children of wrath" (or "sons of disobedience") "by nature"... a. Some understand this "nature" to be something one is born with 1) This passage (Ep 2:1-3) does not actually say "when" we began to be "children of wrath" 2) Only that before we became "children of God" (at our conversion), we were "children of wrath" b. The term "nature" can be understood as "a mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature" (Thayer) 1) In the context of Ep 2:1-3, Paul is not talking about sinful conduct committed by ancestors, the consequence of which is felt by their descendants 2) But sins in which "YOU once walked", "WE all once conducted ourselves", i.e., sins PERSONALLY committed c. Therefore, because of our "conduct" before our conversion, we developed a "nature" that resulted in our being: 1) "sons of disobedience" - 2:2 2) "children of wrath" - 2:3 CONCLUSION 1. We have seen that "Our Condition Outside Of Christ" is one in which we are... a. Dead in trespasses and sins - Ep 2:1 b. Walking with the world and the devil - Ep 2:2 c. Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind - Ep 2:3 -- And thus "sons of disobedience", and "children of wrath"! 2. How can such "sons of disobedience" and "children of wrath" ever become... a. "holy and without blame"? - Ep 1:4 b. Receive the "adoption as sons"? - Ep 1:5 c. And be "accepted" by God? - Ep 1:6 3. The answer will be explained more fully in Ep 2:4-10, where we learn of "Salvation By Grace Through Faith" a. We will examine that answer in detail in our next lesson b. But for now, compare carefully Ep 2:5 with Col 2:11-13 Have you experienced the working of God's grace in your life, by being buried with Christ in baptism where your sins are "cut away" and then raised with Christ, thereby "made alive together with Him"...?