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Summary: The intention of the apostle in this short section is to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and to express the sad estate and condition of man by nature, and to magnify the riches of the grace of God, and represent the exceeding greatness of His power.

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By: Tom Lowe

Title: The Individual Believer’s Former State (2:1-3)

Ephesians 2:1-3 (KJV)

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.

Introduction

In Ephesians 2:1, Paul turns suddenly to his readers and declares that, like Christ, they once were dead, and in Ephesians 2:2-3 he proves this. The intention of the apostle in this short section is to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and to express the sad estate and condition of man by nature, and to magnify the riches of the grace of God, and represent the exceeding greatness of His power in the conversion of sinners.

Commentary

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

“And you hath he quickened”

The words “hath he quickened,” or “made to live,” have been supplied properly by our translators. “Hath he quickened,” is not in the original text, but is supplied from *Ephesians 2:5, where it will be explained. Here those who are quickened with Christ, and by the power and grace of God, are described in their natural and unregenerate state. The object of the apostle is to show the great power which God had demonstrated to the people (Ephesians 1:19); and to show that this was performed in connection with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and his exaltation to the right hand of God in heaven. The words “hath he quickened” mean, he has made alive, or made to live. (John 5:21; *Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:36)

“Who were dead in trespasses and sins”

It is affirmed here of those to whom Paul wrote at Ephesus, that before they were converted, they were “dead in sins.” There cannot be found anywhere a more explicit proof of depravity than this, and no stronger language can be used. They were “dead” in relation to that to which they afterward became alive, that is, “to holiness.” Of course, this does not mean that they were dead in all respects. It does not mean that they had no human life, or that they did not breathe, and walk, and act. Nor can it mean that they had no living intellect or mental powers, which would not have been true. Nor does it settle any question as to their ability or power while in that state. It simply states a fact--that in relation to real spiritual life they were, as a consequence of sin, like a dead man in regard to the objects which are around them.

A corpse is insensitive. It doesn’t see, it doesn’t hear, and it feels nothing. The sounds of music, and the voice of friendship and of alarm, do not arouse it. The world is busy and active around it, but it is unconscious of it all. It sees no beauty in the landscape; it does not hear the voice of a friend; it does not gaze upon the glorious sun and stars; and is unaffected by the running stream and the rolling ocean. And it is the same with the sinner in regard to the spiritual and eternal world. He sees no beauty in religion; he cannot hear the call of God; and he is unaffected by the dying love of the Savior. He is unconcerned with all these things, and sees no more beauty, than a dead man does in the world around him. In fact, this is the condition of a sinful world. There is, indeed, life, and energy, and motion. There are vast plans and projects, and the world is intensely active. But in regard to religion, all is dead. No human power can arouse the sinner to act for God, anymore than human power can rouse the sleeping dead. The same power is needed in the conversion of a sinner that is needed in raising the dead; and both acts demonstrate the omnipotence of Him who can do it.


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