The first verses of Ephesians chapter 2 are still connected to the subject of the resurrection power that raised Christ up from among the dead. The same principle has worked in us who were spiritually separated from God. The calling of the Church is a heavenly calling by God of those who were dead and now have been made alive in Christ. Not only the Ephesian believers, but we also may not be aware of the awfulness of trespasses and sins before a holy God because we have become so used to them. Not everyone who has a heavenly calling will find themselves in a local church. The word “in” is found often in chapter 1 indicating we are called with a heavenly calling and are “in” heavenly places “in Christ.” We are “in Him,” “in love” that has been demonstrated to us. We are accepted “in the beloved” because we have redemption “in Him.” By following the path of those words in the first chapter we find our position established. In chapter 2 we now take a look at ourselves and see where we have come from and where we are now.
We were in the place of death, separation from God, not because of the circumstances in which we were found, but because of who we are in ourselves. Trespasses are acts of defiance against what is right. It is in the nature of fallen man to challenge authority and demand his own way in spite of what we know within ourselves is right. Why do people do what is wrong even though they know it is wrong? Self-centeredness, self-will and selfishness are all part of the independence man wants. He does not want God or anyone else telling him what he can or cannot do regardless if it is right or wrong. Sin is in our fallen nature. “Sin” is any form of wrong whether inward or outward. This word describes the whole problem that separates mankind from God. “Wherefore as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” Trespasses are obvious and public, but that does not excuse those who consider themselves “good people.” There are physical sins, intellectual sins and religious sins. Each one is reason for our separation from God – death.
The immoral person who lives openly in defiance of God’s moral law, is condemned to death (separation from God) because of who he is and what he does. The one who questions God, and even His existence, and why an Almighty God, if there is one, doesn’t do things the way he thinks is right from his perspective. is condemned to death (separation from God). His limited thoughts are restricted by what he has experienced or been taught by others who think like himself. God says, “My thoughts are not you thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” Religious people who have taken some teachings from morality, some from humanity and some from their own baseless thoughts, and adapted it into a religious belief, are perhaps the darkest sinners of all because of willful blindness and are condemned to death (separation from God).
The Gentile believers in Ephesus were those who had openly walked in the ways of the world in ungodly and immoral practices. The first of seven references to “walk” in this book, indicates the worldly person doesn’t just occasionally do something inconsistent with the righteousness of God, but this is their continual way of living. The governing authority of the world-system and the moral darkness associated with that system, is the devil. There is a power behind evil that is greater than man’s power. Satan uses whatever method he can to keep people in the place of death. He seeks to deny the blessing of eternal life to those whose nature is to disobey divine authority. He is the temporary ruler of those who “love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.” He does not have the power to keep a person from facing the problem of “trespasses and sins,” and in faith turning from sin in repentance to God and putting personal faith in Christ for salvation. His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom whose whole objective is to keep people in the blackness of darkness forever.
Paul identifies Jewish believers as well as living in the same way under the same condemnation. He points out the third enemy of the believer infects Jews who had fleshly lusts that pollute their bodies and minds as well. Without exception everyone commits sin and by nature everyone is without Christ and dead to God. We cannot give life to ourselves. We are lost. But the same power that raised Christ from the dead has been used to give life to those of us who were “dead in trespasses and sins.” Moral living, intellectual prowess and spiritual devotion do not give spiritual life. Man by nature is a runaway from God – a criminal in more ways than one. We rebel against God’s authority and conspired against His revealed will so we can find reasons to excuse ourselves for doing things our own way. By resisting God and the righteousness our inward being teaches us is true, we have alienated ourselves from God and have to suffer the consequences of sin.
There really is nothing in us that would recommend us to God’s grace. There is no reason in us for mercy being shown to us. There is not one human being good enough to merit salvation or any of God’s mercies toward us. We who deserve God’s holy, just and righteous wrath, and should have been consigned to the consequences of death for ever, have been loved by God. He has shown totally undeserved mercy toward us. It is only right for us to stop occasionally and remember who we were, where we were and what we did when we were in our sins. Remembering “the rock from when we have been hewn, the hole of the pit from whence we were digged,” has the effect of making us appreciate God’s mercy, love and grace. His great power has worked for us. By hearing the Gospel and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, His electing grace has changed everything. Resurrection power to give life is still working today bringing life to spiritually dead men and women.