That may seem like an odd question, but I’m not referring to your physical condition. Since you are reading this post, it seems that you are physically alive. But what about your spiritual condition?
Let’s examine Ephesians 2:1-3 to see the horrible, hopeless condition of a person who is spiritually dead.
Ephesians 2:1-3 (HCSB)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
Here are some key words in these verses that describe a spiritually dead person:
- dead in your trespasses – false steps (think, “no trespassing” signs)
- dead in your sins – literally, missing the mark of God’s perfect plan (like an archer missing a target)
- in which you previously walked – meaning, this is the pattern of a person’s life BEFORE they are made spiritually alive
- led by the ruler who exercises authority over the lower heavens – under the rule of evil forces, led by Satan and his demons
- disobedient – a spiritually dead person practices disobedience toward the things of God
- carrying out the inclinations of our fleshly desires – choosing to follow the lusts of our flesh, the lusts of our heart, and the lusts of our mind
- by nature we were children under wrath – because of our sinful nature, EVERYONE was guilty and in danger of the righteous, eternal wrath of God. We all deserved eternal punishment by God in hell.
To summarize Ephesians 2:1-3 — we are all sinners by nature and by choice. Our thoughts, words and actions give us away. We can try to hide our sinful nature by doing good things, trying to be a good person, or being very religious (the Christians at Ephesus were very religious people even BEFORE they came to faith in Christ, but that religious zeal did make them spiritually alive). However, we can’t hide from ourselves or from God. Without Christ, we are spiritually dead.
Amazingly, it is possible to be made spiritually alive. Even with our horrible, hopeless condition of sin, it is possible to have a spiritual resurrection. But we can’t do this ourselves. We need help. WE NEED GOD.
Ephesians 2:4-10 (HCSB)
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 Together with Christ Jesus He also raised us up and seated us in the heavens, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through ⌊His⌋ kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
In Ephesians 2:4-10, the first two words are key: But GOD…
- who is abundant in mercy (v 4)
- because of His great love for us (v 4)
- made us alive with the Messiah (v 5)
- even though we were dead in our trespasses (v 5)
- saved us by grace (v 5)
- raised us up with Christ (v 6)
- seated us in the heavens (v 6) (He’s got a reserved seat in heaven for you!)
- will display His immeasurable riches of His grace in the coming ages (v 7) (we will be “wow-ed” for all of eternity in heaven as we hear the stories of God’s immeasurable riches and grace in people’s lives)
Remember (vv 8-10) …
- You are saved by grace
- You are saved though faith
- You did not and cannot save yourself
- Salvation is God’s gift to us
- You can’t work up your own salvation, or work your way to heaven
- Because salvation is God’s gift to us (given by His grace, received through faith), we can not boast
- We are His creation (literally, “we are His work of art”)
- He created us for good works
- He prepared ahead of time some good works for us to do
- He will empower us and lead us to walk with Him, to do the good works He wants us to do
MAKING IT REAL
So how do you apply these verses to your life? Let me suggest a few ways.
- If you need to be saved, receive God’s gift of salvation. For help on that, here’s a great resource: “The Story.”
- For those of you who are believers in Christ, take some time to read Ephesians 2:1-10 again. Make these verses a prayer to God, thanking Him for taking you from death to life.
- If you are spiritually alive, walk like a live person!
- Don’t become judgmental toward those who are spiritually dead. Rather, pray for them, and ask God to show you ways to show them His grace. Make a point to do that this week.
- If you are in a small group Bible study, discuss the truths of this passage with other group members.