Bible Study The Book Of Ephesians Verse By Verse

Lesson 11 Chapter Two Verses 1 – 2

V. 1 "You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."

"…were dead in trespasses and sins." These words go a long way in describing the sinners state prior to being quickened by the Holy Spirit.

He is spiritually dead, and utterly helpless to alter his condition in the least. He is totally void of spiritual life, and his heart is enmity against God. His alienation is of such nature that he can not do the first thing which meets Divine approbation. His heart is so deceitful above all things; his potential for evil is so extensive that he cannot know it. (Jere. 17: 9) His evil nature is intensified daily, whereby his spiritually death state is unmistakably manifested. In a word, he is totally depraved.

The character of the unregenerate is prevailed in the words, "in trespasses and sins." The term "spiritual death" does not mean the person is passive or neutral toward God, what it does mean is, that the spirit of man is in a constant state of hostility toward God. This hostility is manifested as soon as man enters this life from the womb of his mother (Ps. 58:3), and he is an undeviating antagonist of righteousness (Acts 8:3).

Note: It is "trespasses" plural and it is "sins" Plural that unregenerate man is dead in. The word "trespass" highlights the fact that mans disobedience was a personal offence to God. It teaches that man took a step in the direction explicitly forbidden by God, or that he went beyond the mark set by God.

The word "sin" means that man failed to measure up to God's standard, or that he came short of the mark, or lines agreed upon. Thus, all men having their standing in Adam, he being their Federal representative to God, and when Adam trespassed or sinned he fell, and all of his posterity or constituency fell in him, which fall resulted in spiritual death for all men.

It was by this "one offence" that spiritual death began its diabolical reign ever mankind (Rom. 5:17), but since that time, and up to the point of Holy Spirit quickening, man drinks in iniquity like water. And so it is, Paul says, "And you hath He quickened who were dead is trespasses and sins" Plural.

Vs. 2 "Wherein 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."

"Wherein in time, past ye walked according to the course of this world…" Paul in these words reminds the Ephesian saints that their life being effectually called by the Spirit of grace was in complete harmony with the world. That is, they were strict adherents to the fashions of the world, and their worldliness was manifested by their living in "trespasses" and sins."

Their conformity to the world was so absolute that they did not question any of its standards or practices. For direction they had only carnal reasoning to guide them, and as it was then, so it is today; "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6). Lost man may not realize it, irregardless of his conformity to the world's standard of morality, he is yet in the sight of God a dedicated rebel against all that is good, just, and holy.

Note, the pronoun "ye" this is a specific reference to the Gentile membership of the Ephesian church, but Paul is careful so as not to present the Jews as being morally superior to the Gentiles, so he follows up the direct reference to the Gentiles with the general pronoun "we", wherein he includes himself.

Vs.3 "…We all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh..."

The reason Paul emphasizes the pre-regenerate state of the Ephesian, saints is to magnify the redemptive grace and mercy of God, and thereby cause them to properly appreciate what God had done for them in Christ. They, by the unmerited favor of God had been brought from the depths of moral degradation, and was caused to sit in heavenly places with Christ. Their bondage to the Devil, the world, and the flesh had been abrogated by the exercise of God's power in their behalf, and Paul wanted them to know the great price which was paid for their liberty.

In their pre-regenerate life they stood fast, and were unmovable in their pursuits of pleasures and practices of the world, were willing slaves in every dictate of their fallen nature. But being delivered from this awful state, they should stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free, and not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

"Wherein in time past ye walked..." The word "walked" in this text is a reference to the total time of their life in the unredeemed state, and speaks of consistent rebellion against God. Never once did they take a step outside of an environment that was not permitted with utter spiritual darkness, the "course" of this world" held them in captivity, and all else was foolishness to them.

"Walked… according to the prince of the power of the air…." in their ante-Christian life they were wiling subjects of the princedom of Satan. This is a frightening thought, but it is a fact, accord with the Devil, and every imagination of the thought of his heart is only evil.

Vs. 2 "...Prince of the air..." "Air" as used in this text is a reference to the atmospheric heavens, wherein Satan has set up his abide, and order of demons. And it is from this location he exerts an influence upon the earth that cannot be resisted by mere human strength. Peter, realizing this truth, says to the saints, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet-5:8).

The devil has supernatural strength and wisdom, and only another supernatural being stronger and wiser than he can defeat him. The devil is the god of this world, that is, the whole world lieth in the wicked one, and is blindly intoxicated by his influence. Yet the saint needs to ever remember, that there is another supernatural being in this satanically influenced world, that is the third person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and John says, speaking of the Holy Spirit, "Greater is He that is you, than he that is in the world," (1 John 4:4). For a saint to be lost Satan must overcome the Holy Spirit, perish the thought.
Paul tells the saints at Rome, "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly...." (Ro. 16:20). It will not be long before the Blessed Bruiser will crush the slimy head of Satan under His precious nail scarred heel.

"The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." "spirit" in this phrase is not the devil, nor one of his demons, though many lost people are indwelt by demon spirits. It is a reference to the spirit of evil, or the principle of evil that rules the world. Unregenerate mankind is ruled by an evil principle, and that principle has as its base, self gratification, which comes before all other things. Selfishness is the very essence of sin, and Satan knowing this infinite weakness is in man takes advantage of it., and uses man to serve his own selfish and diabolical ends.

"Children of disobedience..." and "children of the world" (Lk. 16:8)" are one and the same.
Paul speaking of the Law of God, says "...Holy, and just, and good" Rom.7:12). And under that law a child that was disobedient to his natural father was subject to the death penalty. The elect were children of disobedience the same as others, and the law cried out for retribution, and for the meteing out of the due recompense.

The God of all mercy responded with the provision of the penalty bearer, and those children of disobedience for whom Christ died, are now children of obedience, and the Spirit that now works in them, conforming them to the image of God's perfectly obedient is none other than the Sovereign Holy Spirit.

Every place in the Bible where the term "disobedience" is used is either a direct or indirect reference to disobedience to God. Disobedience to the 'Least good, is disobedience to God. What will be the end of those that spend all of their life in disobedience to all that is good, holy, and just? The answer is,
"...The wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience." (Col. 3:6)