By Stan Brown
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
Having completed discussing God’s great blessings to those who believe (These are the blessings that He chose before time began.), Paul now turns to a discussion about how God makes sinners into saints and makes us part of the body of Christ. He does this with the third long sentence of Ephesians. This sentence continues through either verse seven or ten depending on which Greek scholar you ask. The main subject of this sentence which is God, does not occur until verse four. The three main verbs do not occur until verses five and six. This sentence tells us that it is God who has made us alive, raised us up and seated us down. (I was just contemplating how I could make the entire thoughts this morning into one sentence and I could just connect everything by using a bunch of “ands and buts”, but Paul is much more creative than that.)
So, the sentence is about being made alive. First, Paul will spend three verses telling us where we started. We were spiritually speaking, dead as a doornail. We know that He is speaking of being spiritually dead here because when it comes to physical death, we start out alive and end up dead. When it comes to spiritual life, we start out dead and are made alive by God. Just as those who are physically dead cannot communicate with those who are alive physically so those who are spiritually dead cannot communicate with God and are separated from Him. There is a total lack of ability to understand Him. Ergo, we are all born into this life devoid of life (We were spiritually dead.) The first six words of verse one and verse five are identical except for the pronouns. Paul digresses as he speaks more deeply (in verses two and three) of the condition into which we have been physically born. He will finish the current thought in verse five and following. OK, so what have I said so far in two paragraphs? Simply we were born spiritually dead. This is an extremely important concept. No one who is dead can make themselves alive. Only God can accomplish that.
As spiritually dead folks, we lived in the sphere that is controlled by trespasses and sins. There is little if any difference between the two words. They express a conscious and willful decision in defiance of God’s holiness and righteousness. We are born sinners and cannot do anything to make ourselves alive. The following two verses will make clear what walking in that sphere entails as well as the results of walking there. Paul wants us to know that each and every one of us began there. We all were dead. I suddenly realized that Paul abruptly takes us from the stunning blessings of God to the awful reality of where our journey began. I always was a little slow on the uptake.