How we Were ’Before’ Salvation

Have you seen the popular advertising tactic of “before” and “after” pictures? They are probably most common for diet products, but I’ve also seen them for hair and make-overs. The “before” picture is almost always the least flattering picture possib … More

This passage uses a similar tactic but to a different end. Paul does paint two pictures for us – one “before” Christ (vv. 1-3) and one “after” (vv. 4-7). He then brings it all together (vv. 8-10) and tells us what the goal of this comparison is.

In these first three verses Paul gives us the “before” picture of an unsaved person:

  1. He is dead (v.1). A corpse does not  hear what people are talking about in the funeral parlor. Just as a person who is physically dead has no appetite for food, neither will a person who is spiritually dead have any appetite for spiritual food (to hear the Word of God). All lost sinners are dead. The last drunkard on skid row and the unsaved society leader are both dead in sin. One corpse cannot be more dead than another.
  2. He is disobedient (vv. 2-3a). There are three main forces that help a person to be disobedient. They are:
    1. The world - This world system is constantly trying to get man to conform to its values.
    2. The flesh - This refers to man’s fallen nature that we were born with and does everything it can to control our mind and body.
    3. The devil - He wants to make people “children of disobedience.” He himself was disobedient to God and he wants others to disobey Him, too.

With these influences there is little wonder that the unsaved person is disobedient to God. There is no way that he can overcome these three great enemies of God by Himself. He had made God angry, and he was going to be punished like everyone else (v. 3b).

Application

Lord, I thank you so much for the way you changed my life and thinking when I was saved.

Ephesians 2:1-3 (English Standard Version)

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.

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