15/10/17 Ephesians 2:1-7 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
Ephesians 2:1 – And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;
“hath he quickened” is not in the original and is most likely inferred from Ephesians 2:5. It is probably superfluous to the passage here, because the first 3 verses of this chapter focus upon the trespasses and sins that all were a part of in the past. Vs 4 onward then gives the result of the transformation from the deadness of the past into the salvation (of the present time) by grace of Jesus Christ.
who were – “being”
dead – nekros (can mean a corpse; dead; without life; but metaphorically it can mean spiritually dead; spiritually inoperative or inactive; destitute of a life that recognises and is devoted to God, because it is given up to trespasses and sins; inactive as respects doing right) We get the word “necromancy” from this = “dead body + divination” that is, allegedly summoning the dead to obtain knowledge.
trespasses – paraptoma (to fall beside or near something; a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; a sin, misdeed)
sins – hamartia (to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of righteousness; an offense against holy God; to violate God’s law)
The original sense of the Greek hamartia was to miss the mark, especially in spear-throwing. Note the Old Testament Hebrew chata – to miss the goal or path of right and duty, especially applied to missing the centre of the target in archery.
“And you, being spiritually dead in (due to) deviating from the truth and wandering from the path of righteousness …”
The calvinists often quote this verse to try to demonstrate that the non-elect cannot under any circumstances do anything to choose to accept God’s salvation. They claim that a dead body (a corpse) cannot do anything; therefore no-one (according to them) is capable of doing anything to do with spiritual life at all unless God firstly “regenerates” them. But, and this is a really big “But!”, dead corpses cannot do anything at all! They cannot even deviate from the truth; they cannot even wander from the path of righteousness! They cannot do anything! They are dead!
This verse does not say that we are dead corpses because of trespasses and sins, for we are still able to disobey God. A corpse cannot obey God, nor can a corpse disobey God! The word “dead” here simply means that a person, whose desires are for trespasses and sins, is effectively dead toward God. If you look at the next two verses, you can see that such “dead” people can walk (according to the course of this world), and their behaviour fulfils the lusts and desires of the flesh. These people aren’t dead; however, they are merely dead to the needs of God. Their desires are quite active, only that such desires are those that condemn them to death. “For the wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23)
How could Abraham (yet still physically alive) considered his own body dead (Romans 4:19) when it came to child-bearing. And, if Christians are dead to sin (Romans 6:2) then does that mean they cannot be alive? Christians are now dead to sin and alive in Christ, when once they were alive to sin and dead to God.
There is no way of using this verse to teach that lost man cannot choose to accept God’s salvation under any circumstances! The word of the gospel gives light and life to all who hear it; otherwise why would satan have any logical purpose in blinding the minds of the lost if they could never see it anyway??
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Ephesians 2:2 – Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
the course of this world – aion toutou kosmos (the age of this world)
“Wherein, in the past (previously), you (who were those spiritually “dead” people, but are now of the saints of Ephesus) walked according to the fashions and desires of the people who inhabit this world. That is, you lived and behaved as the others of the world lived and behaved, according to the influence of the ruler of the power (authority) of the air – satan, who is the spirit who works in (is effective in) the children of disobedience (as befits their following of the example set by satan).”
1 John 5:18-19 – 18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 19 [And] we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
children of disobedience – see Ephesians 5:3-6 – 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Ephesians 2:3 – Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
“Among whom we (who are now of the Church, the saints of God) also had our behaviour (our way of life) previously in the lusts (cravings) of our flesh (the old man; the old nature; the sensuous nature of man), fulfilling (carrying out) the desires (what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will; choice; pleasure; doing the wishes) of the flesh (the sensuous nature of man) and of the mind (our thoughts, whether good or bad, probably rebellious here); and were by nature (habit) the children of wrath (anger, probably the righteous anger of God directed against their trespasses and sins) even as others (we were just like the rest of the world).”
Christians are to keep their thoughts under control.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.
These people of the world are not dead people; they are simply dead to life, but they are very much alive to sin. The gospel when preached will get the attention of the lost, some favourably, many others unfavourably. God’s word will achieve that purpose for which it was sent.
Isaiah 55:10-11 – 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.
It is sheer foolishness to assume that God’s word (in particular, the gospel of salvation) will have no more effect than any other words of man’s wisdom that might be preached to those of the world. The gospel will enter where ordinary words of wisdom will fail!
Ephesians 2:4 – But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
“But God, who is rich (abounding) in mercy (mercy, kindness, goodwill, especially to the miserable and afflicted; often associated with God not delivering to us that which we so richly deserve – eternal condemnation), for (through) His great love (agape) wherewith He loved (agapao) us,”
It was not of ourselves that we are now called His saints, for the previous three verses make it very clear that we were just as deserving of eternal condemnation as those who remain in the world. We were among them, dead in trespasses and sins.
Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:10 – Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
The calvinist God is not very merciful for, according to MacArthur, he didn’t intend saving all people (The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 1); in fact, the God of MacArthur only wanted to save perhaps less than 1% of all people. The God of the Bible made a way of salvation available for all mankind. Of course, calvinists like MacArthur mock this (The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 1), saying that such salvation must be merely a potential salvation, claiming that real salvation is when all those who were died for, also are called, saved, and go to heaven, that is, the elect of God! But, MacArthur has failed to recognise a simple truth, that something that is potential is a complete reality waiting to happen, waiting to be triggered. All science recognises this fact!
A bullet may be merely a potential death, waiting for the trigger to be pulled to activate it. But if the trigger is pulled, that bullet is clearly “actual”! A potential salvation is a full salvation that merely requires setting in motion to become a complete reality. Thus, all mankind has the potential to be saved. That many are not saved is simply because those “many” didn’t not choose to make that potential salvation a reality! Think about this!
Ephesians 2:5 – Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
quickened together with – syzoopoieo – to make alive together (from syn – meaning two who are intimately connected with each other & zoopoieo – bear living young; cause to live; make alive; by spiritual power to arouse and invigorate; restore to life; quickening as respects the spirit) Also used in Colossians 2:13.
“Even when we were spiritually dead in sins (= “trespasses” in Vs 1), God has made us alive (restored our lives) together in Christ.” This is the state of those saints of Ephesus to whom Paul is writing. There has come a point in their lives when they have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved, and thus they have become new creatures in Christ; the old has died and they have been made new, alive with Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
We are dead now to trespasses and sin, yet now have life in Christ.
Colossians 3:3 – For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Thus, our lives are not independent but instead dependent upon Christ.
for by grace are ye saved – for by grace you have been saved (in Perfect tense). Grace is the unmerited divine assistance of God given to mankind. That is, it is not of works of righteousness which we have done.
Titus 3:5 – Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
See Ephesians 2:8-9 which emphasises salvation by grace as the gift of God as opposed to works which we might boast about, yet cannot save us.
Ephesians 2:6 – And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
hath raised (us) up together – synegeiro (to cause to raise together; to be raised together from death to life [in Christ]) from syn (two who are intimately connected with each other) & egeiro (arouse from sleep (esp of death); recall dead to life; to raise up, that is, cause to be born; of buildings, to raise up, construct, erect) Also used in Colossians 2:12 & 3:1.
made (us) sit together – sygkathizo (to cause to sit down together) from syn (as above) & kathizo (to make to sit down) Also used in Luke 22:55.
In Vs 5 & 6 we have 3 instances of Christians united with Christ in being made alive together (restored to life together), raised up from death to life together (or lifted up together), and being made to sit together in heavenly places.
Colossians 2:12 – Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
For our life is now hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3) in heaven. Also see:
Philippians 3:20-21 – 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Ephesians 2:7 – That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
“That in the ages (aion) to come (yet in the future) God might show (demonstrate; manifest; display) the exceeding riches (abundance) of His grace (unmerited favour of God) in kindness (moral goodness; integrity; kindness) toward us through Jesus Christ.”
This verse sums up the “together” phrases of the previous 2 verses – quickened together, raised together, sitting together. This appears to be a type of symbiosis between two parties, where one or both parties may depend partially or entirely upon each other for survival. In this case, Christians are (or should be) entirely dependent upon Christ for their survival; a symbiotic relationship where one party is (should be) entirely dependent upon the other (thus the “together” phrases). The “ages to come” strongly implies that while we are not living a life entirely dependent upon Christ now, yet one day (yet in the future) we will surely do so. This is also implied in our future, though yet to be accomplished glorification.
However, symbiosis does not totally explain the full meaning of these three terms. The prefix syn denotes the “together” part of each phrase, meaning “two who are intimately connected with each other”. It is a picture of two (or more) people or objects that are incomplete separately, yet complete together, that is, a synthesis (from Greek, from syntithenai to put together, from syn- + tithenai to put, place). That is, the combining of separate (and usually distinct) parts to form a whole without obvious parts. Merriam-Webster says it is the combining of often diverse conceptions into a coherent whole.
In the following, “fitly joined together” = synarmologeo – here meaning the members of the body (from syn + harmos = a joining + lego = used in the original sense of “laying”, that is, placed or laid down together in harmony with each other).
Ephesians 4:16 – From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
The same word is used in Ephesians 2:21-22 – 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Also note another occurrence of “syn” in “are builded together” (synoikodomeo) in Ephesians 2:22)
Calvinists make a big deal of their term “monergism”, despite it not being a word found in the Bible; it means that God only does the work. They denounce the opposite – “synergism” from synergeo (used for “work together” in Romans 8:28; and co-workers with Christ in 2 Corinthians 6:1; also see Mark 16:20), which means that man co-operates with God to do the work. It is the terminology that is misleading, for, while God does indeed do all the work in justifying the sinner, there is a necessary component of man that must occur (effectively a synthesis) before God imputes His righteousness to the sinner. That component of man is to believe by faith in God (Romans 4:5) and depends upon the free will of man to choose whom he will serve. Without faith there is no salvation. This is what the calvinists are really opposed to: the free will of man! Instead they use words which have an “educated” or “scholarly” sound to them; such terminology often causes people to consider that it might be correct. If only more people tested all things before blindly (by faith?) accepting the heresies of false teachers.