As I was studying Ephesians, I was reminding how fascinated I am with the way Paul writes in such a way that it seems like his letters should read in reverse order. For example, Ephesians 2 tells the believers who they were before they were born again, and Ephesians 1 tells the believer who they are in Christ.
It seems that should be flipped. But then as I thought about it, Paul is writing to believers and encouraging them of who they are in Christ, but also reminding them who they formerly were. If it were an evangelistic letter, then maybe it would be flipped; but all of Paul’s letters are to believers.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to bullet point Ephesians 1 and 2 briefly in reverse order to first look at who we either are or were.
Ephesians 2:1b dead in the trespasses and sins
*All of us either were or are spiritually dead, what is evidence of being spiritually dead?
Ephesians 2:2b following the course of this world,
*The “course of this world”, is self-centered, self-focused, thinking much of ourselves and our opinion, continuing in sin.
Ephesians 2:2b following the prince of the power of the air
*The “prince of the power of the air” is Satan, the devil. People do not think of themselves as “following Satan”, but the reality is, when we are on a course that is not led by the Spirit of God, it is a course that is of Satan. Whether it be secularism, humanism, decadence, philosophy, or religion; without Christ it is a course of the devil. Satan doesn’t care what course you follow, do good, do bad, do nothing, he doesn’t care, so long as you do not follow Christ.
Ephesians 2:2b the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience
*There is a spirit at work in those that are disobedient to God, a spirit that wants to keep them on the course they are one, a course that does anything but repent and believe the Gospel.
Ephesians 2:2b in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind
*This is a mindset that does what it pleases. A mindset that justifies their sin or can’t see and doesn’t care about the severity and consequence of their sin.
Ephesians 3:2b children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
*This is as heavy as it gets. Consider this paradigm: The ones that know they were children of Wrath have been redeemed from sin’s debt, the ones that are still children of Wrath have no idea they are.
We ALL, either were or are children of Wrath. To die a child of Wrath simply means the Wrath of God is upon you and will remain upon you for eternity. There are various responses when a person hears this, but the reality is, they all boil down to two:
“I don’t believe this.”
“I believe this, and it scares me, what must I do?”
Ephesians 1:13a the word of truth,
*All of us who believe have first heard, listened to, understood, and have had our minds changed upon hearing the Word of Truth. The Word of Truth being that we are all sinners deserving to suffer under the Wrath of God forever, but Jesus Christ (God that became flesh and dwelt among us) lived the perfect life (completely sinless), died a brutal death on the Cross where He bore the sin of the world and suffered under the Wrath of God, paying the debt of sin, died and was buried, rose again three days later defeating sin and death, so that all who trust in Him alone to save them from the coming Wrath will be given forgiveness of their sin and be granted eternal life.
Ephesians 1:13b the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
*When we hear the term “salvation” it should stir up the thought, “saved from what?” When we think about “believing in Him” we should be reminded that we believe His Words, His commands, and are trusting in nothing else and no one else to save us. When this happens we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, meaning He sends the Holy Spirit to abide in us, to change us, convict us when needed, to comfort when needed, and teach us to grow in obedience and faith.