|Ephesians 2:1-3 |
1 [Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus is one of the most misunderstood chapters in the Bible. People read this chapter and assume it applies to them too; but Paul is speaking to believers who have spiritually grown to have overcome sin, the world, and the devil. These believers have been raised with Christ to union and fellowship with him, to the heavens where they sit down in Christ. These people have experienced the true salvation by grace — freed from sin, raised with Christ to become a new creature, translated into the Kingdom of Heaven, where they have fellowship with Christ and the Father. See the footnotes below for extensive scriptural proof and clarification of grace and works.]
1 And he has brought you to life, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [We are all in Adam's fallen state, dead to the life of God, living in sin; until we have crucified the old man, and are renewed into the image, light, life, direction, and power of God.]
2 Where in times past you walked according to the ways of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], which is the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience. [Until you are obediently guided by the Spirit of Christ in all thoughts, words, and deeds, you are a child of disobedience: a descendant of Adam, the disobedient, fallen man; and until you have crucified that selfish, Satanic spirit within you, you are walking according to Satan's direction, which is walking in lust, fulfilling the desires of your flesh and the thoughts of your carnal mind.]
3 Among whom we also all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts of our mind; and were by nature the children of wrath and the object of His indignation, just as the rest of mankind.1 [Notice! All mankind walks in sinful lusts, according to the desires of their flesh and thoughts of their mind, which is under Satan's direction. However, Paul is speaking to crucified believers, who are no longer controlled by the lusts of their flesh; who no longer think their own thoughts, whose sinful nature has been destroyed, including its carnal mind, replaced by the mind of Christ.]
1 Where in times past you walked according to the ways of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], which is the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience. Paul is saying that all men start living according to the way of the world, which ways are the ways of Satan, and whose spirit is at work in all men who are not controlled in thought, speech, and actions by the Spirit of God. Now gentle reader, understand, until your selfish spirit has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, you too are walking through the control of Satan; he is the deceiver, and by still sinning, you serve him without realizing it. You can say any prayer you want, get baptized in water as many times as you can imagine, go to sect services continually, memorize the Bible; and you will still be serving Satan without you being aware. As Paul said: you are the slaves of whom you obey; whether of sin that leads to death, or of obedience that leads to righteousness? As you previously yielded your body to the slavery of uncleanness and from wickedness to wickedness; so now yield your body to the slavery of righteousness that results in holiness. Rom 6:16-19. Notice! Those who do not walk according to the promptings of God as to what to say and do are children of disobedience. Among whom we also all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts of our mind; and were by nature the children of wrath and the object of His indignation, just as the rest of mankind.
Paul is speaking to men who have crucified their selfish nature; you cannot read Paul's letters and assume they apply to you too. Those who have not been crucified, walk in lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and thoughts of the mind. To walk through life according to your own mind is worse than worshipping idols because you have made yourself god. To walk according to your own mind is exactly what Satan promised Adam and Eve — they would become wise like God and know good and evil; they would be able to decide for themselves what was good and what was bad. Their first decision was that they were naked and that was bad. When you walk according to your own mind, you are making your own decisions, based on your selfish rationalizations — at best, you are capable of only making the least evil decision; without God's direction, you have no idea what to do that is his will and truly good.