“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-3
If you haven’t picked up on this already, here is a little “need-to-know” about me: I am a truth person. I’m not interested in beating around the bush. I want the facts. I need to know the truth. Don’t sugar-coat or soften the blow; just give it to me. I’ve come to personally learn the truth behind Jesus’ words in John 8:31-32 when He said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (emphasis mine) If truth sets us free, why on earth would we desire anything less? I want to be a truth teller, and I desire that God’s people would purpose themselves to be passionate about truth. Are you with me?
This is why I so love today’s passage from Ephesians 2. The apostle Paul doesn’t gloss over the honest truth with the Ephesians. Nope, he says it like it is. God knows that pride causes us to forget the fallen state from which we were redeemed. Verse 1 begins with a sobering reminder of the total depravity and sin that we as believers came from. We weren’t “good people” before Christ, and if you want to know the honest truth, we aren’t “good people” after Christ. Any good found in us is a direct result of the Spirit at work within us. The sinful nature we all were born into causes us to be “dead in the trespasses and sins” that we once were characterized by.
There is something so tremendously refreshing about how consistent God’s Word is with itself. Look up Colossians 2:13. What similarity do you find in this verse compared to Ephesians 2:1?
Have you ever realized how active the enemy is in this world, seeking to trip us up and cause believers to stumble into our old ways? He doesn’t need to show up with horns and pitchforks. No, he uses humanity’s values and standards that are apart from God’s and tries to convince us to follow “the course of this world.” Do you want to know the honest truth?
The devil is a liar. Always has been, always will be. Every time he opens his mouth, lies pour out – lies about who God is, lies about how restrictive and oppressive His Word is, and lies about how man’s ways, thinking, and understanding are better. Lies, lies, lies. It’s his native tongue. So, Paul paints a needed picture for us of the hard but honest truth. Before Christ and apart from Christ, we are dead in our sin, and therefore we exalt the world’s ways above God’s. Before Christ and apart from Christ, we follow after Satan, the prince of the power of the air. How does John 12:31 describe Satan? What about 2 Corinthians 4:4?
The devil is at work in this world, possessing those who are apart from Christ and seeking to influence those who are in Christ. Before Christ, we were among those who are described in Ephesians 2:2-3: children of wrath, sons of disobedience. We were characterized by the passions of our sinful nature, constantly giving into the desires of the flesh. It’s ugly, but it’s true. And sometimes, we need a swift kick in the pants to remind us of where we came from in order to ensure that we will never return to the pits in which we once dwelled. This is the honest truth. The hard and ugly, but honest truth.