“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 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— 3 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)
Ephesians 2:1-10 is one the pinnacle chapters in the New Testament. Within these ten verses we witness the biblical truths of spiritual death, sin, condemnation, new life, grace, faith, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and that each believer in Christ is God’s workmanship.
The Apostle Paul begins in vv. 1-3 with the assertion that all unbelievers exist in a natural state, or condition, of sin. In other words, the unbeliever is dead to God but alive to sin. In fact, the unbeliever revels in their sin and wickedness (Romans 1:18-32).
Yesterday, we examined v. 1 which says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…” Today, we examine 2:2 which says, “…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—.”
Natural, unconverted mankind walked in their trespasses and sins. The word walked (περιπατέω; peripateo) refers in the context to active behavior and living. It refers to what people go about doing. In the case of the natural and unsaved individual, they do about doing sin. They do so because they enjoy sinning.
They are also following the course (αἰών; aion), authority, lordship and ruler which belongs to the fallen world system. The fallen world is characterized by the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (Genesis 3; Matthew 4:1-17; Luke 4:1-13; I John 2:15-17). In other words, it is fallen humanity’s values and standards apart from Christ.
The de facto, or delegated ruler of this fallen world system of wicked thoughts and behavior is referred to as the “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—.” The word prince (ἄρχων; archon) means a wicked force, ruler or official. Power (ἐξουσία; exousia) also means a wicked force, ruler or official. Of the air (ἀήρ; aer) refers to supernatural power. In other words, this is a description of Satan and his demons. Paul describes the devil as a spiritual being who is actively working in the children belonging to this world and evidencing their allegiance by their disobedience against God and His Word.
So, the natural and unconverted individual lives according to the fallen world’s values, follows Satan (I John 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:1-4), and inwardly finds it natural and normal to consciously and actively rebel and oppose God. This is the spiritual condition of the lost. It should not surprise us when lost people make the choices they make, which seem to be so wicked and vile. They enjoy their wickedness, as believers in Christ once did in their lost condition.
What is ultimate consequence of this fallen and wicked condition of natural human beings? Ephesians 2:3 provides the answer. It is to that biblical answer that we will give our attention when next we meet.
Soli deo Gloria!