Summary: Describing the life of one before being converted to Christianity.
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
We live in a world that’s always looking for a change for the better. Hundreds of commercials flood our televisions that advertise products or methods for a healthy body that guarantees life changing results. The familiar still shot of before & after have become popular in showing satisfied results of particular products and exercises. The before picture shows how one appeared in the sight of others that didn’t seem to bring happiness in one’s life. But amazingly the after shot shows results that seem to change one’s outlook on life. People are always looking to change their current situations, financial status, or outward appearances. But people have become so caught up in changing things that only help the outward appearance, that millions become or remain spiritually dead every year because the inner man has not received a spiritual conversion!
Let me just go ahead and dive into the water. The fact is that without Christ you are nothing, and at the end of your road awaits death. The only way that you will experience a real life change is if you allow God to come into your heart and give you a spiritual transplant that opens the doors to life eternal. But this truth is denied these days. Men speak of “the better self” and a “fresh start.” But man needs a new heart, not just a new start; a new life, not just turning over a new leaf; a resurrection, not just reformation. You see everybody is in favor of progress; its change they don’t like. But change is necessary in order for someone to move forward, and when you sit back and see where you started and see how far you’ve come, then you can say that you have progressed.
Before a change or a new life takes place within an individual, there is life before conversion. Some people walk around like they’ve been saved all their lives, but the fact is that they lived a life before conversion. Those of you who have given your life to Christ, do you often think about your life before conversion? Some of us would like to forget the lives we led before coming to Christ. Well let me speak for myself, I wish I could erase many things in my past. I’m not saying that we should dwell on the sinful things we once did, but it is often said that we shouldn’t forget where we come from. We shouldn’t hold on to the guilt and shame that our past brought us, but remembering we had a sinful past should encourage us to continue to walk worthy in the vocation wherewith we are called. Many of us still struggle in areas of darkness because we forget about the guilt and shame it once brought us. Also, remembering the life we came from allows us to have compassion for those who are struggling in sin. It keeps us humble in knowing that the absence of the Spirit makes us capable of doing just about anything sinful. Many of us allow our past to dictate our future. But we shouldn’t allow satan to use our past to steal our joy of salvation, but we should rejoice in knowing where God has brought us from.
Paul, the author of our text, pens Ephesians differently than his other epistles. Unlike his other letters Ephesians is more general rather than personal. For example, he’s not defending his apostleship as in I Corinthians; not rebuking fickleness as in II Corinthians; not raising arguments against Judaizers as in Galatians; and not battling Gnosticism as in Colossians. But in Ephesians, Paul covers several themes from God’s purpose to Christian conduct. In our selected scriptures Paul shares with us how believers in Christ were once prisoners of sin and how they were held in bondage. If we let the truth be known, some Christians are still allowing themselves to remain imprisoned by sin even though Christ has already broken their shackles and set them free. They’re living life the same way they were before conversion. If we don’t totally understand what was done for us on the cross and surrender our all to God, then we will remain shackled by sin. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” I believe often times we become confused about our identity. As believers we are now new creatures, but if were not sure about the conversion that has taken place, then we will find ourselves doing old things. We can’t allow satan to confuse us, we need to know and understand the new creature we have become. Satan keeps us bound by confusing us about our identity. He wants saints to think they’re sinners and sinners to think they’re saints.