From Death to Life

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Ephesians 2:1-3

You were dead . . . children of wrath. (vv. 1 and 3 NIV)

Wrapped up in Paul’s description of God’s power are serious and complicated thoughts, worth doing some hard thinking to grasp. Paul has just prayed that we may know the greatness of God’s power, power demonstrated in raising and enthroning Christ. In contrast to how high Jesus has been exalted, Paul now shows how low we were in spiritual death.

Most people, if they believe in God, think that they are naturally on good terms with him—that they are by nature children of God. Ephesians 2 declares the stark news that we are naturally dead—dead to God, that is, and “by nature children of wrath” (v. 3). This is the result of sin, which kills because it destroys our relationship with God.

Paul describes two paradoxical truths. First, to be dead to God is to be alive to the world and all its ways. Second, in disobeying God we are slavishly following the world’s usurping apparent ruler, the evil one (v. 2). This is true of everyone. All of us, says the apostle, once lived among the disobedient, actively following the cravings, desires, and thoughts of the sinful nature. By nature we are alive to evil but dead to God and caught in the way of living destined for judgment. Thank God that’s not the whole story.


Lord, let me know what I am apart from you and in you.