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Ephesians 2:1

Dead

1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins,"


The second chapter of this epistle begins a description of God's power and grace, which he has directed toward His saints. Paul wants every Christian to understand the problem of sin and the full power of God's grace to rescue them from it.

The reader should notice the italics used in this verse. They indicate that those words were added by the translators of the King James Version for the purpose of clarification. It literally reads, "And you, who were dead 'because' of trespasses and sins." In the Greek language these nouns appear in the instrumental case, so that it is better to say they were dead 'because' of their sins.

We should try to understand what this means instead of glossing over it, thinking that the meaning is obvious. Let's take a previous statement by Paul as our first step toward understanding the condition of death. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Romans 5:12) We inherited this condition of sin from our ancestor, Adam. When he sinned, he died a spiritual death. He was no longer able to face his God, no longer allowed to walk in the paradise of the Garden of Eden, no longer blessed with the luxury provided by the garden. As a spiritually dead person, he was not able to give life to a spiritually alive child. It's a principle of nature that dead things do not produce living offspring. Eventually, Adam also suffered a physical death, but that is not what concerns us in this verse.

We are therefore all born as living creatures who are spiritually dead, creatures who cannot commune with the living God. Death is the opposite of life, which Jesus described in this way: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3) The words "know thee" are used in the most intimate sense. To have life we must know God by experience, by a personal relationship with Him but, because of Adam's original sin and our inherited tendency to live in sin, we cannot have a relationship with Him.

This is a vital part of the gospel, yet so many people today do not want to hear it. It makes us feel uncomfortable to think that we are spiritually dead and there is nothing that we can do about it. The dead cannot help themselves, cannot save themselves, cannot resurrect themselves, and cannot even recognize that they are dead. The Spirit must first convict them of their sinful state before they can understand their desperate need for a Savior.

The focus of the letter remains on God's purpose, "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him." (Ephesians 1:10) So, the rest of this chapter will be spent doing two things. First, Paul will explain more about our natural state as the walking dead, and then he will go to great lengths to show that salvation comes only by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. God is sovereign over all things including our salvation, which is an important part in His purpose.

You had nothing to do with your own salvation. You, who were dead because of trespasses and sins, were helpless and without a God, a foreigner to His family. It is good to remember that, good to meditate on the consequences, and good to understand what the redeeming work of Christ has actually done for you.

Before The Throne:

If you have been born again, you have much for which to be thankful. Do not take it lightly. Spend as much time as you can giving thanks and praising Him for life. Commit yourself to Him, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ. If you have not been born again but you now understand that you are dead because of sin, it is the Spirit of God who has enlightened you. Call upon Christ right now. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

For Further Study:

(v.1)
** you: Eph 1:19-20; Joh 5:25; 10:10; 11:25-26; 14:6; Rom 8:2; 1Co 15:45; Col 2:13; 3:1-4; ** dead: Eph 4:18; 5:14; Mat 8:22; Luk 15:24, 32; Joh 5:21; 2Co 5:14; 1Ti 5:6; 1Jo 3:14; Rev 3:1;

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