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Edward O’Hara Mon 5/11/2020 10:05 PM…
Today we continue in our study of Ephesians. We see in chapter2 vs.1 the life that Jesus’ defeat of death provides for us. To show us what this means Paul writes, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins”. To be “quickened” is to be made alive. But, this is not physical life. We already have that from our first birth as Jesus told Nicodemus in John3:1-8 when He told him “Ye must be born again”. It is the spiritual life that Paul is referring to here. A life that Paul told us in 1Cor.15:45-50 that no man had before Jesus came because all men are born the same as Adam was when God made him. “Not spiritual but natural”. “Of the earth earthy”. “Flesh and blood”.
Paul goes on in vs.2 saying that in times past these lived according to the course of this world. Now there was a course that was set by God when He made Adam because He made Adam natural not spiritual. A course that equipped mankind for relating only to the natural world that God placed him in when He made man. A course that allowed mankind to only be able to relate according to his physical senses because God made man natural from the beginning. But, we also see something else at work here in what Paul is teaching them. That it was not only that course in which God made Adam that Paul refers to here. Because what God made man to be in the beginning set a course for man that would keep him in the garden forever. Never being able to know God on a spiritual level. Because he was natural not spiritual. But, this course Paul speaks of here in Ephesians is a different course. One which is “according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience”. So we see that the course Paul is telling the Ephesians of requires a choice. A choice of either obedience or disobedience. A choice to reject God’s will for their lives by choosing of their own free will to go a different direction. Or one that accepts God’s will for them. One that is in accord with their God given fleshly desires. Or one that is in accord with God’s will so that “none should perish” that puts those “very good” fleshly desires in their proper God given context.
These desires are God given. But, because in their disobedience they chose to give their fleshly desires first place in their lives, actually making them instead of God the criteria by which they make their most important choices, it kept them from knowing and trusting in God. In this they actually make themselves idolaters. Because by the flesh they can not know God because the flesh can only relate to what has been made as Rom.1 plainly shows. Which is why Paul says in vs.21-23 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
It is because these were natural men just as Adam was when God made him that they could only know God through those senses. Which makes their relationship with God natural, not spiritual. But, it is only by the spirit that truly knowing and having a personal relationship with God is possible. Which is why Jesus said “Ye must be born again”. Because men must be born of the Spirit to be able to worship God in spirit and in truth as Jesus said we must in John4:24. This is also why Jesus said “It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh profits nothing”. Because the relationship we need to have with God to have eternal life is not possible by the flesh. It is only possible by the Spirit. Because God is a Spirit. And His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that only those who are spiritual can live in. So they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. This is something that is not possible by the flesh because the flesh is natural and can only relate through natural means to what is made.
So the disobedience Paul speaks of here in Eph.2 is one that comes by trusting in the flesh instead of in the true God. This is what made them “by nature the children of wrath”. By nature, not because of inheritance or imputation as some falsely believe and teach. But, only because they have chosen to relate by their desires that the Bible says God gave mankind to relate to the natural world he was placed in when He made Adam. So Paul shows us here that men that are “by nature children of wrath” are so because they are natural, not spiritual. Not because they have inherited evil in their flesh from Adam. That kind of thinking is spawned from the Gnosticism that John said was of the spirit of antichrist in 1John4:1-3 and 2John7-11.
But, as we see in Eph.2:4 God’s mercy is shown to mankind so that he will realize God’s great love for them. A love that Paul also refers to in Rom.2:4 saying, “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”. A love that is freely given to us by God and all that is needed is for us to receive it of our own free will. It is unconditional. Paul wants us to know that it is this love shown through God’s goodness that brings men to trust in Him. Not severity and condemnation like the false gods. Which is why Paul said that God was in Christ not imputing trespasses to the world in 2Cor.5:19. And even though they are under death’s power, and that this is true because men can not eat from the tree of life, God provides for them the means to be “quickened”, or made alive to God, by that great love wherewith He loved them.
Also please be sure to understand that Paul says they are dead in sins. He does not say they are dead because of sins. There is a great difference between the two. Because Paul is saying that they are under death’s reign and that sin is the result of not knowing Jesus. Which is what Jesus said He sent the Holy Spirit into the world to reprove the world of. The only sin that can separate men from God. The sin of “They believe not on me”- John16:9. Which is also what Paul was teaching in Rom.5:12-14 when he taught that even though the sins from Adam to Moses were not imputed to anyone death still reigned. So sin does not cause man’s death. Paul makes it clear that their being under death’s reign is instead the cause of their not knowing Jesus.
And if you are thinking Paul teaches that the wages of sin is death in Rom.6:23 then you are right. But, what you may not understand is that Paul was referring to those Israelites who were under the law. Because Paul was paraphrasing Ezekiel who said “The soul that sinneth it shall die” in Ez.18:20. Ezekiel was a prophet for Israel under the law. And what he said was for Israel under the law. So the reason Paul used Ezekiel’s teaching about sin and death was to contrast it with what the New Covenant offers. Which is why Paul finished Rom.6:23 saying “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
And when Paul says in vs.5 and 6 of Eph.2 that by grace ye are saved he is making it clear that it is because of God’s unconditional love for us that He has provided us with deliverance from death to life if we will simply trust in Him and receive God’s gift. And that by raising us up together with Jesus Paul is referencing the new birth. Because it is Jesus’ resurrection that conquered death so that we could be quickened, made alive spiritually through the new birth, by trusting in Jesus and His resurrection. Because it was by Jesus joining with mankind in our death that He was able to defeat death by His resurrection and make the new birth possible for all who will trust in Him.
Paul says in vs.7 all this is done so that in the ages to come God will show to us the riches of that grace, which is His love in action seen in John3:16,17, that saves those who trust in Him. This is our inheritance of His spiritual kingdom that only those who have been born of His Spirit are eligible for. Because even though all men are created by God. Not all men are born of His Spirit. Because only by the Spirit birth, a birth that happens when by our free will we choose to believe the gospel when it is preached to us, do we then receive the gift of faith that receives the gift of eternal life so that we are we made children of God. This is what Jesus meant when He said the seed sown in the heart bears fruit. Which is also what Paul says in vs.8,9 when he writes “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” And as children we are then His heirs. Heirs of the promise of His kingdom and eternal life. Of which Paul says in 1Cor.15:50 the flesh and blood that Adam and all men are since God created him “can not inherit the kingdom of God”.
So our course is set for God’s spiritual kingdom by our free will reception of the gospel message and God’s call in that message. Men no longer live with God forever on earth since they were not allowed to eat from the tree of life in Gen.3:22. So the only way for man to live forever with God is to be born of His Spirit. This makes us children of God and heirs of all the wonderful things that He has for us. With an eternal body and spirit made specifically for His eternal kingdom. This is His grace which is God’s love in action for the whole world that delivers from death to life.
Will you be born of His Spirit so you too can inherit eternal life? The fleshly birth only prepared you for this natural world where death reigns. Where we live for a very short time that James compared to the time vapor lasts as it rises into the air. Will you too be born again by being born of His Spirit? So that as His child you will now have for your inheritance His kingdom that is eternal where there is no death?
If you are reading this God is calling you. He loves you and wants you to know Him. Because knowing Him is this eternal life that provides you with the spirit that makes you God’s child.John17:3. Because while all men are created by God, not all men are born of His Spirit so that they are children of God. It is only those who have come to know Him that are spiritual because knowing Him is to be born of His Spirit. So if you do not know Him, but have now believed that He is Lord and that He has raised from the dead to conquer death for you, then please take the time right now to talk to Him and confess to Jesus that He is Lord of your life. And believe that He has raised from the dead to conquer death for you. If you do believe in Him then tell Him something like this and you will have eternal life:
Dear Jesus, I believe you. Thank you for joining with me in death so that by conquering death by your resurrection I could join with you in eternal life. Thank you that you raised from the dead so that I could raise from the dead too by trusting in, clinging to, and relying solely on you. Thank you for giving me a new spirit now Lord so that I can live with you in your kingdom forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.
By praying a prayer similar to this one and really meaning it from your heart you have been saved from death to life. From sin to righteousness. And from wrath to peace with God. And now as you begin reading the Bible and believing what it plainly says it will begin to change the way you think and believe. Because when you trust in Jesus you leave the old life behind where you were only able to relate to and trust in what has been made. And now will be equipped for God’s kingdom because you are no longer only natural flesh and blood, but are a new creature made a spiritual being ready to inherit God’s spiritual kingdom. It is because of Jesus’ resurrection that He is the only WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. Because only Jesus has broken through the wall of death that the flesh and blood natural body can never get through. And only by the new birth are we made ready to receive the spiritual body that can go through the wall of death as Jesus’ did first so we could follow Him in the way He has prepared for us.
God Bless you in your new life in Christ.
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