To enter heaven, people must be converted, or born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. While chapter 1 of Ephesians describes so beautifully the many spiritual blessings that God has given to His chosen and adopted children, the beginning of chapter 2 gives us a sobering reminder that these amazing riches of God’s grace only apply to those who are alive in Christ. None of us came out of our mother’s womb praising Jesus! No, we were all born “dead in trespasses and sins” (v. 1). No matter how nice a person seems, the default spiritual condition of all people without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ is the same – dead in sins. The appearance of some people’s sinfulness may be better hidden than it is with others, but in the heart that has never been born again by the Holy Spirit, the condition is the same – dead in sins. The person without Jesus on the inside, no matter how nice they may seem on the outside, is a follower and prisoner of Satan (the “rule of the kingdom of the air”) and the deceitful belief system of this wicked world (v. 2). Every person without Christ is ultimately a slave to their own selfish desires, both the sins of the flesh (what they do and say) and the mind (what they think and want) – they are dead in sins (v. 3). And because of their sinful deeds and words and thoughts that pour forth from their sinful hearts, people without Christ are under God’s just sentence of punishment and condemnation (v. 4). They are headed for the hell that they rightly deserve.
If the passage ended here, all would be hopeless and lost for us. But praise God for verses 4-6! By the power of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from physical death, anyone who repents of their sins and trusts in His work on their behalf can be saved from their awful condition of spiritual death. Every born-again Christian has this testimony in their heart, that God has raised them from being dead in sins to being alive in Christ. If you are a Christian, you were delivered from death to life the moment you trusted in Jesus for your eternal salvation. You are no longer a dead man or woman walking, but a living, breathing bearer of God’s resurrection power. By God’s love and grace, you have forever passed from death to life and are headed for heaven.
The Text (Ephesians 2:1-6)
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
Questions to Think About
1. Have you passed from death to life as described in today’s passage? How can you tell?
2. How does remembering our sinfulness before we were saved make us more thankful for God’s mercy and grace in our life?
3. Are there any friendships that you need to reconsider and reevaluate right now based on today’s passage? Is it possible that you have been spending time with spiritually dead people and not known it? Proverbs 13:30 warns us that, “He who walks with wise men [and women] will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” When it comes to picking your closest friends, choose carefully.