The Book of Ephesians ~ Chapter 2:1-2 ~ Introduction & God’s Grace Found Us!

Vol. 14 No. 40

eph 2 1 by your grace i am aliveGod’s Way of Salvation

Chapter 2 – Introduction:

In Chapter 1, Paul introduced himself and told us of the surpassing spiritual blessings we have received positionally and of the greatness of God’s power toward us, His Church, so that we would grow personally and more intimately with our head / husband Jesus Christ. In that, He discussed God’s eternal plan in choosing those who are predestined to sonship and the fact that all believers of the Church Age on earth and in heaven will be brought together under Christ the Head of the Church.

Now in Chapter 2, he tells us of the surpassing riches of God’s grace and greatness towards us in the demonstration of His power to save us and build us (both Jew and Gentile) into His Holy temple. He explains the execution of God’s eternal plan by showing how God makes sinners saints and then places them into the church, Christ’s body. So we have a proclamation of God’s purposes:

a. Regeneration, as we go from death to life, vs. 1-10.

b. Reconciliation, of both Jews and Gentiles as One, vs. 11-22.

The first 10 verses in this chapter are among the most evangelistic in the Scriptures, explaining beautifully the actual steps which occur in salvation, and in vs. 11-12, Paul expands the concept of the body of Christ established in Eph 1:20-23 by God’s great power. Therefore, both Chapters 1 and 2, and including Chapter 3, tell us of our position, as believers, in Christ Jesus. And as we noted, Chapters 1-3 are the theological chapters of this book, explaining God and His plan for mankind, especially the believer, whereas Chapters 4-6 are instructions on how to walk in that plan.

Chapter 2 – Outline: Positional Relocation.

1. The New Position in the Heavenlies, the new life in Christ. God has spiritually regenerated sinners, transforming them from death to life, vs. 1-10.

2. The New Position in the Household, unity in Christ. He reconciled Jews and Gentiles, moving them from alienation to oneness, vs. 11-18.

3. The New Position in the Habitat, the Church is a Temple for the habitation of God through the Spirit. Gentiles are no longer aliens but fellow citizens of heaven being formed into a Holy temple for God’s dwelling, vs. 19-22.

Chapter 2 – Theme: God’s Grace:

The great theme of this chapter is God’s grace towards man as Paul discusses how sinners who deserve nothing but God’s wrath can become trophies of His grace.

1. Vs. 1-10, speak of the grace panorama regarding our regeneration, from death to life, and our new position individually.

2. Vs. 11-17, speak of grace and the barrier regarding our reconciliation, Jews and Gentiles as one.

3. Vs. 18-22, speak of grace and the Church regarding being fashioned into the Temple of God.

Chapter 2 – Analogy: The Temple of God:

The analogy used in Chapter 2 is that believers / the church are being made into a temple for God. It tells us of:

1. The materials for the construction of the temple, vs. 1-10.

2. The method of construction, vs. 11-18.

3. The meaning of the construction, vs. 19-22.

As in Chapter 1 we had the analogy of the Church as being a body, that is, the living and functioning manifestation of God here on earth. Now in Chapter 2 we are given another analogy for the Church, that being the Temple of God, as we are being “fitted together” for God’s own purpose. As we note the various verses and principles within this chapter, we will also discuss them in terms of Solomon’s Temple and the Tabernacle in the wilderness, especially in vs. 14.

Vs. 1

Eph 2:1, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”

This begins the subject of the first three verses, which is “how grace found us,”

Vs. 1, Grace found us spiritually dead.

Vs. 2, Grace found us under the control of Satan.

Vs. 3, Grace found us under the control of the Old Sin Nature.

In this verse grace found us spiritually dead as noted in the phrase, “you were dead in your trespasses and sins.”

In addition, vs. 1-7, form the third of the eight long sentences in this epistle, Eph 1:3-14, 15-23; 2:1-7; 3:2-13, 14-19; 4:1-6, 11-16; 6:14-20 with 124 words. In the Greek, the subject and the main verbs do not occur until vs. 4-6.

In vs. 1 we also see that this chapter begins with the little conjunction “and” KAI, as it is actually a continuation of the thought of the first chapter. Paul has been talking about that tremendous power that raised Jesus from the dead. We shall see that this power is the same power that made us alive in Christ, when we were dead in trespasses and sins. That takes power! It takes resurrection power and authority. It is this power that so many of God’s children want to and should know.

Were dead” is the Present active participle in the Accusative Plural of EIMI that ascribes a state of “being” to all believers. That state of being was NEKROS, the noun for “dead, lifeless or useless.” Here it is speaking of our spiritual death due to the imputation of Adam’s original sin at the moment of our physical birth. We remain in that spiritual death until we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, at which time we are “born again” to the spiritual life. So this was the universal state of spiritual being.

Next we see the sphere in which we operated under our spiritual death, “in trespasses and sins,” which is in the Dative of HO PARAPTOMA KAI HO HARMARTIA.

Trespasses” is the Dative Plural of PARAPTOMA, παράπτωμα that means, “misdeed or trespass.” It means to fall beside or near something, to falter or sin. It means a violation of moral standards, offense, wrongdoing, or sin. It refers to a fall or deviation from the truth or that which is correct, for example, “an erroneous step,” and refers to deliberately falling or hurling oneself toward an enemy, (in this case Satan and his cosmic system). It is any lack of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God, where transgression is violation of something you know to be true as a part of Divine law.

It describes the believer’s sins generally in Gal 6:1. But is used to speak of the fall of Adam in Rom 5:17, and the fall of Israel in rejecting Christ, Rom 11:11-12.

It is used in our verse for our transgressions which contributed to our spiritual death, emphasizing our past deliberate disobedience toward God, choosing rather to walk inside of sin and Satan’s cosmic system than choosing Christ as our Savior.

Sins” is the Dative Plural of HAMARTIA, ἁμαρτία that means, “Sin, a sinful deed, sinfulness.” It is the more popular word for sin in the N.T. used as an umbrella or catch all for sins. In legal terminology and in philosophical language HAMARTIA is an umbrella term which includes offenses of all kinds from simple misunderstandings to heinous crimes. It is used for any action deserving punishment or which must be atoned for.

The verb HAMARTANO means, “to err, to miss the mark or goal,” literally and figuratively. In a figurative it signifies improper acts; as such, it carries moral overtones. The nouns HAMARTIA is utilized in a metaphoric sense, but conveys the incorrect action’s origin and nature, and more often concerns the action itself.

Therefore, we were spiritually dead but how did we demonstrate it? By our transgressions; violating Divine law, and our sins; missing the mark of God’s perfect righteousness.

So we were spiritually dead because of Adam’s original sin and we operated in that sphere, prior to our salvation, through our willful violation of God’s laws and missing the mark of His perfect righteousness.

Therefore, this verse speaks to our old condition, being spiritual dead to God, which we cannot blame Adam for solely, because even if he did not sin, we would have, as demonstrated by our own trespasses and sins in this life. Knowing from Chapter 1 that God has saved us, we see His grace emphasized because we all were sinners, Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

So we see that God’s grace found us even when we were spiritual dead!

Vs. 2

Continuing the subject of “how grace found us”:

Vs. 1, Grace found us spiritually dead.

Vs. 2, Grace found us under the control of Satan.

Vs. 3, Grace found us under the control of the Old Sin Nature.

Grace found us under the control of Satan.”

Eph 2:2, “In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”

This verse further depicts the lost condition of mankind by specifying the forces working against them. We first see in this verse that prior to our salvation we constantly “walked according to the course of this world.”

Walked” is the Aorist, Active, Indicative of PERIPATEO, περιπατέω that means, “Go about, walk around; walk, live, conduct oneself.”

According to the course” is KATA HO AION, where AION means, “age or era,” and “of this world” is HO KOMOS. So the “age or era of this world” represents the anti-God influence that we previously chose to be under as we walked in our transgressions and sins. It is speaking of the influence of worldly / cosmic thinking upon the unbelievers.

Pastor R.B. Thieme Jr., noted, “Not only does Satan rule the planet earth but he also has compiled a tremendous mass of thoughts, opinions, speculations, hopes, impulses, objectives, aspirations, trends, and panaceas which form the entire scope of Satanic doctrine for ruling.” That is the course of “this world.” So this phrase tells us that our daily life style was to operate in sin inside of Satan’s cosmic system.

Therefore, this is a way of saying that fallen creatures manifest their state of spiritual death by living lives of enslavement to the world’s standard of values, values that are human-centered, not God-centered.

Next we see the power that works behind this “spirit” of the age, or the ways of this world and how Satan takes advantage of man’s lost condition, by linking the above mentioned corrupted way of life to Satan and his rule over planet earth,according to the prince of the power of the air,” KATA HO ARCHON HO EXOUSIA HO AER.

Prince is the Noun ARCHON, ἄρχων that means, “ruler, prince or leader.” It means “highest ruler, a king,” but it is someone who becomes a ruler without inheriting a throne. Notice that Satan is not called “king,” he is called ARCHON because he did not inherit the world, he seized it. He seized it at the fall of man.

Power is the noun EXOUSIA, ἐξουσία that means, “authority, right or power.” One thing Satan recognizes is the importance of authority, so he is called the highest ruler of authority.

Air is the Noun AER, ἀήρ that means, “air or atmosphere” and emphasizes the realm in which Satan has authority, within the atmosphere of planet earth, the “first heaven.” He does not have authority in heaven, nor will he have authority in Hell. His authority is here and now, on planet earth only, from the Fall in the Garden to the Second Advent of our Lord.

Finally, in the third phrase we have, “of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,” HO PNEUMA HO NUN ENERGEO EN HO HUIOS HO APEITHEIA.

Here we see that Satan is at work “in the children of disobedience” or he is “operating in the sons of disobedience.”

The spirit (PNEUMA) that is now working (ENERGEO)” refers back to Satan’s cosmic system that operates in rebellion to God and His laws.

Sons of disobedience” is HUIOS for “sons or offspring,” and APEITHEIA (a-pay-thay- ah) for “of disobedience,” meaning, “willful unbelief and obstinacy.” It refers to all unbelievers. In scripture it refers to doctrine of demons entering the right lobe of the soul of those who are negative toward God and His Word. Here specifically it refers to the unbeliever’s thinking as Satan has influenced them.

This depicts the forces which war against the human race, especially those who seek to live godly lives: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The world is an external foe, its evil influences surrounding the believer.

The flesh (the self-life) is an internal foe, its weaknesses making it susceptible to temptation.

Satan is an infernal foe, going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, 1 Peter 5:8. He uses the influences of the world to seduce believers, and he takes advantage of believers by attacking them at their weakest points.

But God has not left believers at the mercy of these enemies of the soul. He is the eternal Friend and Deliverer who will bring victory.

So we see that God’s grace found us even when we were under the control of Satan and His cosmic system!

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