And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
In Ephesians 2:1 Paul explains the way the Ephesians “once walked.” Compare this “walk” with the one described by John in I John 1:6-7. When the Bible talks about a “walk,” it is referring to a way of life (I John 1:7), what we might call a lifestyle or a mindset (Romans 8:5-6).
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, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Paul depicts their former walk or lifestyle as (a) “following the course of this world,” (b) “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience,” (c) “carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,” and (d) “being by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:2-3). This is a description of one who lives for him or herself. The result of living this way is to be “dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1)
The good news is that we do not have to stay in this condition because of God’s great love for us. (Ephesians 2:4, See also John 3:16 and Romans 5:8). God changed all this by taking those who were dead in their trespasses and sins and (a) “made us alive together with him” (Ephesians 2:5), (b) “raised us up with him” (Ephesians 2:6) and (c) “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). This he did to “show the immeasurable riches of his grace” (Ephesians 2:7) and it is, Paul reminds them, a “gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). The result is that “we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). This is the way God wants us to walk (live).
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
In Ephesians 2:11-16 Paul explains that at one time the Gentiles were (a) “separated from Christ,” (b) “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel,” (c) “strangers to the covenants of promise,” (d) “having no hope and without God in the world.” However, the effect of the blood of Christ was to allow the Gentiles to “have been brought near.” He made both Jews and Gentiles one group by breaking down “the dividing wall of hostility” and “abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances.” In fact, He brought everyone so close that they are now “one body.” What is this? (Hint: refer back to Ephesians 1:22-23)
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Christ accomplished this by coming and preaching peace to those who were far off (i.e., the Gentiles) and those who were near (i.e., the Jews) (Ephesians 2:17). Now, according to Ephesians 2:18-20, everyone has equal access to the Father through the one Spirit and is a fellow citizen of the household of God.
In the Old Testament times, God dwelt in the Holy Temple that had been built in Jerusalem (see I Kings 8:25-30). However, now God chooses to dwell in a different holy temple. That holy temple is the body of his followers (Ephesians 2:21-22). For more references to this concept, the student is encouraged to see John 4:20-24, I Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19. Just as in the Old Testament sacrifices were offered in the temple, in the New Testament the body of the Christian is the temple of God and the Holy Spirit and our lives are to be a sacrifice to him (see Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:16-17, Hebrews 13:15, I Thessalonians 5:17, II Timothy 2:15, Colossians 1:28-29 and II Corinthians 8:3-5)
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