Summary: The apostle Paul, on the other hand, brings us face to face with the startling reality of how we really were before Christ.
Ephesians: Our Identity In Christ
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 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. 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. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7)
At 11:00 AM on June 18th 1970, Harold Morris heard a jury return a verdict of "guilty as charged!" All of his hopes and dreams suddenly vanished into thin air as the judge quickly sentenced him to a well-deserved two life sentences for armed robbery and murder. The next years of his life were to be filled with the horrors of prison existence. In his insightful book, Morris describes the ordeal of solitary confinement, the in-house drug traffic, infighting among the inmates, and the arrogant and harsh treatment of the inmates by the prison guards. He tells how he found Christ in prison, and how Christ changed his life. And although there were times when he despaired of all hope, his long struggle to win freedom finally culminated in 1978 when he walked out of prison on parole. But it was in 1981 that Harold Morris received a full pardon from the state of Georgia, declared innocent of all charges. The book he wrote about his life is entitled Twice Pardoned. God had intervened in Harold Morris' life and given him two pardons. He had pardoned him eternally for his sins and had now pardoned him again. 
Prisons lock people in, and lock others out. Prisons trap people --- make slaves of them. They not only imprison us physically, they imprison us emotionally and mentally. The loss of freedom becomes as much a state of mind as a state of body. From this state of mind, many find it almost impossible to break free. Even after being set free, many simply return after a short period of time, unable to cope with freedom.
The Bible teaches that every single one of us have experienced prison existence. In fact, we were born in prison. It is a prison of the soul, described in the Scriptures as spiritual death. Many people are never released from this prison of spiritual death. Many die there without ever experiencing life.
Our passage today contrasts the past prison of death into which all us were born with the present position of deliverance into which those of us who have put our faith in Christ have been brought. It is a message of hope. It is a revelation of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in providing for us the true pardon from sin and deliverance from the shackles of death.