And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 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— 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.
Ephesians 2:1-3, ESV.
What’s wrong with this world? Many of us have been asking that question as we watched or read the news over the last few weeks. There are some obvious answers to that question. Racism is wrong. Looting is wrong. Injustice is wrong. Mindless violence is wrong. Destruction of another’s property is wrong. Leaders playing political games while cities burn is wrong. While these are right answers, they do not get to the root of the problem. There is a disease that is causing these symptoms. That disease is sin. It has affected everyone, and it is terminal. It brings about the death of both body and soul. Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that this is what Christ saved them from:
following the course of this world—The way of the fallen world is not the heavenly way. It is the way of sin and its course leads to destruction.
following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--The devil does not make sinners sin for he is not omnipresent. Nonetheless, the spirit of the devil, a spirit of rebellion and lies, brings about disobedience to the good commands of a holy God.
lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind—the soul that is dead in sin craves wicked things. The mind of the spiritually dead rebel has no love for light and life but for darkness and death instead.
by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind—Whereas “sons of disobedience” are defiant people following the lead of the devil; “children of wrath” are those whose rebellion has subjected them to the judgmental wrath of God.
What’s wrong with the world? Sin leading to death.
The only hope Paul provides in these three verses is in the tense of the verbs. These Ephesian Christians “were dead” as they “once walked” in sin and “once lived” enraptured with sin. Sin and death are past tense to the saints.
Christian friend, we will never understand the magnitude of the kindness shown to us by God in Christ unless we understand that we were spiritually dead. We must see that all the wickedness we read about and watch on the news was also innate in us before we came to Christ. Every man, woman, boy, and girl is born a sinner and death by their sin. It is from this that Jesus saves.
I am praying that today you will see how dark the darkness was from which Christ rescued you that you might also see how kind and gracious your rescue from it was!