Ephesians 2:1

 

As for you, you were once dead in your transgressions and sins.

 

The gospel is deeply personal. It is not a theory or a general culture. You are either in or out. You either believe in Christ and receive his forgiveness, or you do not believe t and consequently remain on the outside of the Kingdom.

We have many opinions on issues that do not directly affect us, but the gospel is different. “As for you,” Paul says. We saw in the very first verse of chapter one that this letter is directed “to the saints,” that he is those who have responded to the gospel and now are God’s holy, or set apart, people.

This is me, and you, (assuming you are born again). It is us, the church, the ones called out and sanctified by Christ .

We all need to make a decision to follow Christ if we are to be saved and be a part of God's kingdom.

It affects people who hear the gospel and respond to it as individuals, but are then counted as part of the organic body of Christ.

“You were once dead in your sins & transgressions.”

We were once dead. I was dead in my sins, but now I am alive in Christ. I was the condemned man on the way to the execution chamber, a dead man walking.

But then I stopped being dead. Christ came into my life and moved me from the “dead” column to the “alive” column. The condemned man is set free, declared innocent. Now instead of being dead, on a relentless conveyor belt to hell, I am alive, rescued by Christ.

Countless millions of people are dead men and women walking. Their hearts beat and their bodies move, but they are dead in their sins.

So we used to be! But now I am alive in Christ. The sins that hung around my neck, pulling me inexorably into the depths have been cut off and carried away by Christ.

We were once dead in our transgressions and sins.

The word for transgressions here suggests an accidental breaking of the law- stumbling aside, a false step.

When I am driving, sometimes I don't notice that I'm going down hill and my speed has increased above the speed limit. Someone coming into the country doesn't recognise that we have strict laws about what may be brought in. They might have some food product that is prohibited and forget to declare it on the card.

In both cases the law has been broken, but not intentionally.

It is these transgressions that Paul says have kept us in death. I did not know God's requirements, so I failed. I tried to live a good life, but I am not perfect.

Intentions are not what matters. I have broken God’s holy law, falling short of his glory. I have failed to live up to His standards.

The cumulative effect of my transgressions has made me dead spiritually. I was estranged from God by my breaching of His law.

The word for sins means to miss the mark or to fall short. This is more serious because it suggests wilfulness. We know what we should do but we refuse to do it. It is rebellion against God’s will.

We are all born in sin. We all have that sinful nature handed down from Adam and Eve. We refused to do what God wants us to do.

This outright rebellion moves us away from God, the source of all life, and so we die.

In the previous analogy of driving, sin is when I decide to recklessly ignore the speed limit. I know I should drive at less than 60 km per hour, but I choose to drive at 100 kilometres per hour. My action is a total disregard for the law, and now renders me likely to have a crash.

Sin is when we know what we should do and wilfully do the opposite. It kills us and those around us.

I was once dead in my sins and transgressions, but now, thank God, I am alive because of what Christ has done.

This Is a miracle. It is only God who can turn death into life. It is only God who can raise up the dead person and breathe into them the breath of life.

Key points in this verse:

  • The gospel is personal and we must have apply it to our own lives.

  • We were once dead but we are now alive in Christ.

  • We can accidentally transgress God’s laws or deliberately break them but the result either way is the same - death.