Scripture gives us a twofold picture of humanity: dignity and depravity.
We have dignity because we were created in the image of God. But that image has been marred by the Fall, leading us into depravity. Paul looks at these two aspects of humanity in Ephesians 2:1–7.
Depravity and Separation from God
Make no mistake about it: “you were dead in your offenses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1 NASB).
Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we naturally turn away from God and defy Him. We seek to follow our own wills instead of submitting to His. We are engaged in spiritual warfare as a result of the Fall.
As we look at what Scripture teaches, we see three things that work to pull us away from God:
- The world (“you previously walked according to the course of this world”; verse 2)
- The devil (“according to the prince of the power of the air”; verse 2)
- The flesh (“we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh”; verse 3)
Before God rescued us, we had no life in this world. It was our very nature to be separate from God in the arrogance of autonomy, falling prey to the desires of the world, the flesh, and the devil. We have no way of changing our nature apart from God. Though we still retain the dignity that comes from bearing the image of God, we cannot restore ourselves.
It’s not a matter of being resuscitated; we stand in need of resurrection.
The Mercy of God
Paul gives the best news to us in Ephesians—Jesus Christ, the One who was perfect and righteous, dwelling in light, came and took on our sin in the midst of our darkness.
This is a profound and eternal mystery.
The words “But God” in verse 4 show us the wealth of God’s mercy. He could have left us dead in our trespasses; there was nothing we could do to bring ourselves back to life. But God loved us and saved us. He gave us new life in Jesus Christ—not because of anything we had done, but because of His rich mercy. We now walk by the Spirit in newness of life; sin no longer has dominion over us.
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