And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…
We should remember often what the world has done for us – it has killed us, making us as dead people spiritually.
We may think – and this is the way the world would have us to think – that we enter into life at birth and into death at the end of our earthly life. But the Bible reverses these two: we entered into spiritual death at our physical birth and into new life in our spiritual re-birth, and we will enter into a completion of that spiritual life at our physical death. Birth brought death and death will bring the completion of God’s new life in us.
Two words are used by the Apostle here for living according to the world. “Trespasses” is the first – paraptoma in Greek – and it means a false step, to go some place we are not lawfully allowed to go. As a child growing up on the edge of Dallas, there were the lands of farmers still around us where we lived that were fenced off from the public. There were signs on those fences that read “No Trespassing.” I asked my mother what that meant and she explained that it was not our land, we had no legal right to be there, and we should not go in.
Disobedience to God is like this. He has created us for good things, for holy things, to do the right thing, and has put across evil acts the words “No Trespassing.” Yet we have all crossed that fence in some way or another. Like sheep we have wandered our own way, off the path of God and into sin and death.
The second word is “sins” – amartia in Greek – and it means a failure or a fault, to miss the target, to err, to make a mistake. It is one thing to miss the standards of God because we did not know what they were. In Ephesians 4:18 Paul wrote of the Gentiles, “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” But our problem is not only that we did not know God’s standard, but when we knew it we still did not do it.
This effort to find freedom resulted in our enslavement and in our spiritual death. This spiritual reality was passed down to us through our physical birth and we each live as slaves to our sinful nature and to the world. Only in Christ are we set free.
Grace redeems us and not only forgives us but delivers us as well. Live in the freedom that Christ has brought to you. He has come to set you free. Ephesians 2:1-10 is the story of His grace that has set us free from sin, cleansed us, raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly places. The passage begins with our spiritual deadness but ends with the wonderful proclamation: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” This is God’s wonderful plan for us – redeemed from death and brought into life. Saved from enslavement to our lusts and brought into the freedom of the life of the Son. God has something wonderful for you to think and to do today!