Summary: In this passage, Paul delivered a riveting message - man apart from Christ is dead in sin. A dead man is hopeless to do anything to improve his situation - he's dead! Our only hope is found in Christ.
Dead Man Walking
Ephesians 2: 1-3
Often as those condemned to death by execution are led from their cell toward the death chamber, the other prisoners will say, “Dead man walking.” For the condemned, and all who face a similar fate, the reality of the situation begins to take hold. The condemned is enjoying the last few hours of life, facing a sure and certain death.
Our text deals with a sobering reality for all of humanity. Apart from Christ, being saved by His grace and reconciled to God, we are all dead men walking. We may not meet our physical death as soon as the condemned on death row, but those apart from Christ are literally in more a state of “deadness” than the condemned inmate. Those apart from Christ may enjoy a long and successful physical life, but spiritually they are dead in their sin.
This eternal truth is confirmed in Scripture, but it continues to be rejected by most. The Gospel has been watered down to such a degree, that many in America assume they are Christians, simply by association, if nothing else. Unfortunately, many do not even realize the severity of their situation.
I trust you will agree with the Bible and admit that all are born in sin, thus separated from God, and in danger of eternal judgment and condemnation in hell. Within ourselves, we are hopeless to do anything about our desperate situation. In fact, we are dead in sin. A dead man can do nothing about his deadness. Jer.13:23 – Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Man is not a sinner because he sins; he sins because he is a sinner. We do that which comes naturally. Our spiritual condition dictates our behavior.
As we examine the serious indictments raised in the text, I want to preach on the thought: Dead Man Walking.
I. Man is Dead (1) – And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Paul speaks of the spiritual condition of those apart from a relationship with Christ. Notice:
A. The State of his Existence – Paul reveals that prior to salvation in Christ, being quickened (made alive) in Him, we were dead. That is strong language, but we cannot ignore it; it is right there in the text, easily understood. Now, I am not speaking of physical death, but spiritual death. All who are apart from God are dead in sin. They are a living corpse, walking about without the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. A corpse can't enjoy the beauty of the day, the fragrance of a rose, the kiss of a loved one, or the simple pleasures of life.
Just as those who are physically dead can't respond, those who are spiritually dead can't either. The lost man doesn't see the beauty of the Creator, hear the still, small voice, experience the loving touch of the Savior, or see His great love for all. The lost don’t interact with the things of God: the church, the Bible, or other believers; they are dead. We were all in that state. Rom.3: 23 – For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The world may not like it, and even choose to deny it, but the fact remains apart from Christ humanity is dead.
B. The Severity of his Existence (1) – And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Prior to salvation we were all dead in trespasses and sins. You may be here lost and say, “Pastor, I'm not a bad person. I live a good moral life; I just haven't been saved.” Well, I've never heard of degrees of deadness; dead is dead!
We are all guilty of trespasses and sins. Trespasses speak of “falling by the wayside; a fault, error, or lapse; committing a mistake or wrongdoing.” You may have been a good person, but I am certain we have all committed trespasses. We are also guilty of sins. This literally means “missing the true meaning and scope of God.” How can one possibly understand the Lord and live according to His will apart from a relationship with Him? We cannot; and while living in sin, we live contrary to what God desires.
We may choose to ignore or deny it, but the fact remains we are dead in sin apart from Christ. The evidence is there and cannot be denied. The consequence of our sin is separation, thus spiritual death. If you've never believed in Christ as Savior, you're dead in sin. Your only hope is to be resurrected a new creature in Christ Jesus. Rom.6:23a – For the wages of sin is death.