Summary: We take time to consider just how worthy is the calling that we have received from God in Christ.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
The Apostle Paul urges us to walking in a manner worthy of our calling. Before we move quickly on to what such a walk is like, let's take time to consider just how worthy that calling is. To do so, we'll consider what Paul says in the first three chapters of Ephesians.
What We Were Called From
A. Our Spiritual State
Chapter 2:1-3 gives a succinct description of our spiritual state separate from our calling.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind…
To review, one, we were dead in our sin-filled condition, verse 1. This is an important concept to understand. Scripture teaches not that we were as if we were dead but that we truly were dead spiritually. What that means is that our souls were in such a state that they were rendered incapable of responding to God, at least in such a way as to have communion with him. Let me read a couple of other passages that speak to this.
Romans 8:5-8: For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…6 To set the mind on the flesh is death…7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
1 Corinthians 2:14: The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Note the common message. However man is described – “in his flesh” or the “natural person” – the dilemma of each human being is that of himself he is incapable of pleasing God or even turning to God to get help. This is manifested in different ways. For myself who grew up in church and consciously tried to live a good life to please God, my spiritual ineptness was exhibited through my inability “to get” the gospel. I’m sure that if the many sermons I heard were replayed, I could quickly call out each time the gospel was taught. But in my dead spiritual state, I blithely sat in the pews and translated the gospel of grace into a religion of good works. I didn’t get it.
There are others who actually do seem to get it, in that they can articulate the gospel of grace. Nevertheless, they reject it. It doesn’t make sense to the way they perceive reality. They may hear the words of the gospel, but they cannot see themselves or the world from such a perspective.
There are others who just are not “into” spiritual things. The way they see it, there are people who are into spirituality and there are those who are not. If we like to do religion, that’s fine; some of their best friends are into religion. But that is not where they are, and so they go on their way. Again, they just don’t get it.
But the consequence of being dead in sin is not restricted to understanding a spiritual concept. It impacts the way we live. As verse two notes: 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.
People like to regard themselves as basically good persons (“we all have our faults”) who are indifferent to God (“no offense intended”) or just not as into God as much as some religious people. But the Bible differs. If we are not alive spiritually and walking with God, we are walking with the devil, “the prince of the power of the air.” If we do not have the Holy Spirit working in us, we have the spirit of the devil now at work in us making us sons of disobedience. Scripture is black and white on this issue. It doesn’t recognize the basically good person who is doing his best to get along. Either we are walking with God or we are rebelling against God, following along the course laid out for us by Satan. We are one or the other.
The result of following the course of the devil is that we live according to the flesh, i. e., according to our natural passions, as verse 3 explains: among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.