In a hospital doctors are charged with the confirmation and certification of the death of a patient. Their declaration of patient’s status is normally considered authoritative and final.
In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul reminds believers about God’s perception of their former condition- when they were separated from Christ. God’s definition of a sinner’s spiritual status is final because he sees beyond the physical.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…” (Eph. 2:1)
This description also befits or is true of any other person who has not yet come to salvation or received Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is bad news to be called or labeled- dead/lifeless/senseless. It is a serious state, but true. It is a spiritually hopeless condition that needs more than a rescue strategy. It needs someone who is greater and able to breathe life into our dead bodies.
But how were they dead?
They were spiritually dead when they:
- Followed the ways of this world- They were spiritually death when they followed worldly patterns that ultimately lead to death instead of following God’s ways that lead to life. They were dead because they followed the empty, hollow, self-defeating, and deceptive philosophies of men that seek to oppose God. Instead of worshipping the only one and true God who has revealed himself in his Word, they worshiped idols. They heeded the ways of the folly instead of the ways of wisdom. In summary, these patterns made them dead, lost, and without hope.
- They followed Satan– They followed the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit that is now at work in those who are disobedient. By not following God, they were definitely choosing to follow the deceiver of nations. They followed the ruler of the kingdom of darkness; getting blinded every step from what God has done in Christ.
- Sought was to gratify the desires of the flesh– In their lifeless state they did not follow God’s will but sought to gratify their sin nature. And the acts of sin nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and the like (Gal. 5: 19-21).
In this, they rightly deserved God’s wrath; that is, God’s burning anger. They deserved to be punished as their sins deserve.
The message to the church in Laodicea is relevant here. God sees beyond the outward; “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so that you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so that you can see” (Rev. 3:17-18).
Irrespective of what people say about us, without God, we are dead, blind, wretched, pitiful, poor and naked. We therefore need a Savior to make us alive, see, clothe and embrace us, and make us rich in God’s terms.