Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 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 — 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.” (Ephesians 2:1-3
The gospel by definition is good news. However, for us to grasp how good the news is, we must first understand the bad news — that we are all sinners by nature and by practice. Grasping this truth can help us understand the state of evil in the world and the reason people hurt and disappoint one another. As we see in our reading today, Paul begins with the bad news (vs. 1-3) and then proceeds to give us the good news (vs. 4-10.
Paul’s basic statement about mankind’s lost condition is straight forward: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…” (v. 1a). Death is a strong word to describe man’s state in sin. Theologians call this condition “total depravity.” The whole of man’s being is affected by this sinful state — mind, body, emotions, spirit. The natural human being cannot understand the things of God: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14). Paul sums up this lost state in Romans 3: “None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks God…There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10,11,18).
We must understand what Paul means when he says we are dead in our trespasses and sins. The best way to define death is to say that it is the opposite of life. Life in the Bible is used most frequently to describe our relationship with God. “And this is eternal life that they may know You , the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). God is life and He is the giver of life. Apart from Him there is no true spiritual life. Life is to know God, to be in relationship to Him and to enjoy Him. Thus, spiritual death is the opposite of all these things — inability to know God, out of relationship with God and thus a failure to enjoy God.
Let’s be thankful that God has given believers spiritual life and the ability to grasp spiritual truths. It is Jesus Christ who made these things possible; for He is the One who reconciled us to God.
Lord God, I know that I was lost and hopeless until You gave me spiritual life through Your Son Jesus Christ. I once was dead, but now I am alive! I know that this is only possible by your grace which has been lavished upon me.
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