We’re continuing our walk through Ephesians. In this post, we begin chapter 2. Paul starts to explain what Christ has done for us.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 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.
Ephesians 2:1-2 NIV
How did we start out? The truth is that we were far from God. The Scripture says that we were dead to God. That’s an important point.
To really understand what this means, we need to go back to the beginning. Listen to what God told Adam about a certain tree in the garden.
And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Genesis 2:16-17 NIV
When I read this passage, I see Adam hearing from God the command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He was warned that if he did ever eat it he would surely, definitely, absolutely, DIE. My problem was this – when Adam ate from the tree, he didn’t die. At least he didn’t die according to our modern society’s concept of death.
What I found was that we don’t understand what God means when He uses the word death. We usually only see it from the earthly standpoint. Just because our body stops functioning does not constitute death to God.
We are told in the letter to the Romans to “Count yourself dead to sin” (Romans 6:11). Paul said that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8) This tells me that when my body stops working, I merely change residences.
To understand the events in the Garden, I need to know what God means when He uses the word death. A careful study of the Word will prove that when God says that someone has died, it means that communication has stopped. There is no longer any capability to interact with that person.
That’s why, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father said, “My son was dead, but now is alive.” (Luke 15:24) The prodigal was not physically dead, but the father could not communicate with him. So, to the father, he was dead. That was our condition before Christ.
At that time, we were under the power and rulership of Satan. We were living apart from God’s will and we didn’t care.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
Ephesians 2:3 NIV
Instead of seeking God’s plan for our lives, we simply followed the desires of our flesh. Whatever it wanted, we did our best to satisfy it. In other words, we lived to please ourselves. Little did we know that the wrath of God was hanging over our future.
Now for the Good News.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV
God, in His love and mercy, took the initiative. He didn’t wait for us to petition Him. Christ went to the cross to willingly lay down His life for us.
Now, if we accept the work of Jesus Christ, we’re made alive to God. That means the lines of communication have once again opened up in Christ. Because I’m in Christ, the Lord treats me as a son.
That’s the beginning of a new life in Him. The old way of living is gone. You and I are now a new creation because of the work of Jesus Christ.
Question: How well do you make use of this communication with God?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi