Summary: God's view of those outside of Christ
Dead But Now Alive
Ephesians 2: 1-5
Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ, the biblical account of the last hours of Christ’s earthly life. Some claim it was too violent and graphic. Some claimed it was anti-Semitic, though the producer filmed his own hand nailing Jesus to the cross because he said that he and all living are equally guilty in Jesus’ death.
There was a letter to the editor in the paper from a woman in named Madeleine Evans. After viewing the movie she wrote, “Personally, I have no problem believing what Jesus did, but I want no responsibility for it. I will pay for my own sins (I usually do), thank you very much. I would never want anyone to go through so much suffering for me.”
Madeleine sadly did not understand the depths of her own sin if she thought she could in any way pay for her own sin. Now, we may be able to work on our sin, make some things right where sin has made things wrong. But to pay for our own sin to the point that God will accept our efforts is an idea foreign to the Bible.
We need to understand how God views our sin, not how we view it. Poor Madeleine, when she said, “I would never want anyone to go through so much suffering for me,” didn’t realize that for her well being all kinds of people might have to suffer. For her protection in the community, the police can suffer. For her protection in the world, the military can suffer. Even for her garbage to be disposed of the guy throwing her rotting disposables away has to suffer through the smell.
She may have thought she was being independent and thoughtful but she obviously has not made the effort to find out what God thinks.
As we move into Ephesians chapter 2 we are going to find out how God views people who have not come into Christ. This is not flattering, this is not ego building but it is the truth.
When we realize how God’s views us - outside of Christ, then we begin to understand how far reaching is His grace and how terrible is our sin. We always tend to over estimate our goodness, which in itself is a symptom of our sin.
The very first verse of chapter 2 describes our flawed condition. Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
Trespasses: (transgressions NIV) a false step, involving either the crossing of a known boundary or a deviation from the right path; a slip or a fall.
Sins: missing of the mark, falling short of a standard, like an arrow falling short of an intended target. Also it is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it. (James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.)
Before we accept Christ, God views all humanity as rebellious, self-centered and horribly flawed. As a result unbelievers are spiritually dead. Now they may look alive. They may even seem to live lives that are prosperous, envious, full, fun and fantastic but spiritually they are the walking dead – spiritual zombies.
They are blind to the glory of Jesus. They are deaf to the Holy Spirit. They are enemies of God. They are rejecters of the Bible. They are as unresponsive to God as a corpse is to music, which is sometime the appearance of God’s people when we sing!
Paul continues to describe the SZL – Spiritual Zombie Life!
Eph 2:2,3 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
These two verse sum up the things that we battle against.
The World, The Devil and The Fleshly Mind.
Let me briefly describe these three areas on the arena of battle.
1. The World - This is any and every part of society that is organized without reference to God. We may describe it as Secularism, Materialism, humanism, hedenism and other “isms” that can lead people from God. This may be a philosophy of life, another religion, politics or policies that reject Biblical principles. Every aspect of these “isms” my not be evil, but their overall influence tends to be different and in the opposite direction of God. This can even involve cherished things like capitalism and traditions that get connected with Biblical Christianity.
2. The Devil – It may be NOT be fashionable today to believe in a personal devil or connected demonic influence under his command but it is taught in the Bible. If there is no devil, then Jesus had mental problems, for Jesus conversed with Satan and demons. They are as real as God.