Tuesday, February 22, 2011


 Ephesians 2:2-3
 . . . in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 

You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live. The word here "live" in the Greek literally means "walk about." That's right! Like in Australia when you hear them talking about going "walk about." There it means they're going to go travel about a bit and see what they can see. It has a similar meaning here only add a zombie-like attitude to the traveler. This is how you used to walk about this life before you came to know Jesus. The walking dead. Transgressions and sins used to be your manner of living. True life, real life, was not something you could grasp, although it was always within your reach. It's like being in a prison cell with the keys hanging within reach right outside the bars, but you don't see them or know they're there.

The evil one, the devil, is identified here as the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Taken literally, the air signifies the atmosphere around the earth and the earth is Satan's abode. According to ancient cosmology, the atmosphere was believed to be the habitation of demons. I'm sure you would agree that it's not a big stretch to see this world as being ruled by the evil one. When you consider everything that bombards us on the daily news reports, it's certainly easy to see the evil one at work. That's not to say that the work of the Holy Spirit isn't just as prevalent -- but those reports never hit the daily news. The devil is the spirit who is at work in those who are disobedient -- those who refuse to believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ. He is constantly at work keeping God's creation from choosing life -- from becoming alive and aware of the life God created for you. But, take heart. The Holy Spirit is also constantly at work in those of us who are obedient to call of Christ.

Paul started out in chapter 2 addressing the Gentile Christians, but in verse 3 he's addresses the Jews. Jewish believers were no better, despite their inclination that God's promises to them somehow made them better people and exempt from God's wrath. All of us have lived in the grip of sin, Paul included. "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:22-24, NIV  Human beings are sinful and we have numerous ways (too numerous to count, actually) of expressing our sinful side. We lie, we lust, we hate, we seek revenge, we are ungrateful. In fact, we are so sinful by nature that we need very little help from the devil, if any at all. One thing about Paul, he is very clear on the condition of humankind. Gentile, Jew . . . we're all the same and we all have to come to the same place to gain life: the foot of the cross. You have to remember that when Paul wrote this letter he was a Jew of the highest quality, sent to minister to the Gentiles, who every Jew considered to be of lesser quality, and had to find a way to make this Gospel message real and appealing and believable to both. He could not allow the Jewish believers to think of themselves as better nor could he allow the Gentiles to think of themselves as unworthy of God's promises. Therefore, we are ALL deserving of God's wrath.

Alive! Gwen Meharg
Here's what Paul is saying: though you lived, you used to be counted among the dead and those that followed the evil one and his ways, even without knowing it. But not now, believer. Yes, you still sin. We all do. The difference is transgressions and sins no longer define who you are. It's true for all of us. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. We were all there at one time, ruled by sin and deserving God's anger. Faith, love, truth, life . . . these are the things that define you now. You walk about this life ALIVE!  The devil may rule this earth, but Jesus Christ rules your heart!

Defined by Life,

1 comment:

Sweet J said...

That is one creepy picture!

". . . we're all the same and we all have to come to the same place to gain life: the foot of the cross." Paul made it clear, there is only one way and it begins at the cross. Any other path is worthless and leads to death.

Great post!