CHRIST, THROUGH THE
1. And you--"You also," among those who have experienced His mighty
power in enabling them to believe
hath he quickened--supplied from the Greek
A living corpse: without the gracious presence of God's Spirit in the
soul, and so unable to think, will, or do aught that is holy.
in trespasses . . . sins--in them, as the element in which the
unbeliever is, and through which he is dead to the true life. Sin is the
death of the soul.
"Alienated from the life of God"
Translate, as Greek, "in your trespasses," &c. "Trespass" in
Greek, expresses a FALL or LAPSE, such as the transgression of Adam whereby he
fell. "Sin." (Greek, "hamartia") implies innate
corruption and ALIENATION from God
(literally, erring of the mind from the rule of truth),
exhibited in acts of sin (Greek, "hamartemata").
BENGEL, refers "trespasses" to the Jews who had
the law, and yet revolted from it; "sins," to the Gentiles who know not
2. the course of this world--the career (literally, "the age,"
or present system of this world
(1Co 2:6, 12; 3:18, 19,
as opposed to "the world to come"): alien from God, and lying in the
"The age" (which is something more external and ethical) regulates "the
world" (which is something more external).
the prince of the power of the air--the unseen God who lies underneath
guiding "the course of this world"
ranging through the air around us: compare
"fowls of the air" (Greek, "heaven") that is,
"Satan" and his demons. Compare
Christ's ascension seems to have cast Satan out of heaven
(Re 12:5, 9, 10, 12, 13),
where he had been heretofore the accuser of the brethren
No longer able to accuse in heaven those justified by Christ,
the ascended Saviour
(Ro 8:33, 34),
he assails them on earth with all trials and temptations; and "we live
in an atmosphere poisonous and impregnated with deadly elements. But a
mighty purification of the air will be effected by Christ's coming"
[AUBERLEN], for Satan shall be bound
(Re 12:12, 13, 15, 17; 20:2, 3).
"The power" is here used collectively for the "powers of the air"; in
apposition with which "powers" stand the "spirits," comprehended in the
singular, "the spirit," taken also collectively: the aggregate of the
which "work now (still; not merely, as in your case, 'in time
past') in the sons of disobedience" (a Hebraism: men who are not
merely by accident disobedient, but who are essentially sons of
disobedience itself: compare
and of which Satan is here declared to be "the prince." The
Greek does not allow "the spirit" to refer to Satan, "the
prince" himself, but to "the powers of the air" of which he is
prince. The powers of the air are the embodiment of that evil "spirit"
which is the ruling principle of unbelievers, especially the heathen
as opposed to the spirit of the children of God
The potency of that "spirit" is shown in the "disobedience" of the
"children in whom is no faith"
(Isa 30:9; 57:4).
They disobey the Gospel both in faith and practice
3. also we--that is, we also. Paul here joins himself in the
same category with them, passing from the second person
(Eph 2:1, 2)
to the first person here.
all--Jews and Gentiles.
our conversation--"our way of life"
This expression implies an outwardly more decorous course, than
the open "walk" in gross sins on the part of the majority of
Ephesians in times past, the Gentile portion of whom may be specially
referred to in
Paul and his Jewish countrymen, though outwardly more seemly than the
(Ac 26:4, 5, 18),
had been essentially like them in living to the unrenewed flesh,
without the Spirit of God.
mind--Greek, "our thoughts." Mental suggestions and purposes
(independent of God), as distinguished from the blind impulses of "the
and were by nature--He intentionally breaks off the construction,
substituting "and we were" for "and being," to mark emphatically his and
their past state by nature, as contrasted with their present state
by grace. Not merely is it, we had our way of life fulfilling our
fleshly desires, and so being children of wrath; but
we were by nature originally "children of wrath," and so consequently
had our way of life fulfilling our fleshly desires. "Nature," in
Greek, implies that which has grown in us as the peculiarity of
our being, growing with our growth, and strengthening with our
strength, as distinguished from that which has been wrought on us by
mere external influences: what is inherent, not acquired
An incidental proof of the doctrine of original sin.
children of wrath--not merely "sons," as in the Greek,
"sons of disobedience"
but "children" by generation; not merely by adoption, as
"sons" might be. The Greek order more emphatically marks this
innate corruption: "Those who in their (very) nature are children of
"grace" is opposed to "nature" here; and salvation (implied in
Eph 2:5, 8,
"saved") to "wrath." Compare Article IX, Church of England Common
Prayer Book. "Original sin (birth-sin), standeth not in the
following of Adam, but is the fault and corruption of the nature of
every man, naturally engendered of Adam [Christ was
supernaturally conceived by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin],
whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his
own nature inclined to evil; and therefore, in every person born into
this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation." Paul shows that
even the Jews, who boasted of their birth from Abraham, were by natural
birth equally children of wrath as the Gentiles, whom the Jews despised
on account of their birth from idolaters
(Ro 3:9; 5:12-14).
"Wrath abideth" on all who disobey the Gospel in faith and
The phrase, "children of wrath," is a Hebraism, that is, objects of
God's wrath from childhood, in our natural state, as being born in the
sin which God hates. So "son of death"
Margin); "son of perdition"
as others--Greek, "as the rest" of mankind are
4. God, who is rich--Greek "(as) being rich in mercy."
for--that is, "because of His great love." This was the special ground of God's saving us; as "rich in mercy" (compare
Ro 2:4; 10:12)
was the general ground. "Mercy takes away misery; love
confers salvation" [BENGEL].
5. dead in sins--The best reading is in the Greek, "dead in our (literally, 'the') trespasses."
quickened--"vivified" spiritually, and consequences hereafter,
corporally. There must be a spiritual resurrection of the soul before
there can be a comfortable resurrection of the body
(Joh 11:25, 26;
together with Christ--The Head being seated at God's right hand,
the body also sits there with Him [CHRYSOSTOM].
We are already seated there IN Him ("in Christ
and hereafter shall be seated by Him; IN
Him already as in our Head, which is the ground of our hope; by
Him hereafter, as by the conferring cause, when hope shall be swallowed
up in fruition [PEARSON]. What God wrought in
Christ, He wrought (by the very fact) in all united to Christ, and one
by grace ye are saved--Greek, "Ye are in a saved state." Not
merely "ye are being saved," but ye "are passed from death unto life"
Salvation is to the Christian not a thing to be waited for hereafter,
but already realized
The parenthetic introduction of this clause here (compare
is a burst of Paul's feeling, and in order to make the Ephesians feel
that grace from first to last is the sole source of salvation;
hence, too, he says "ye," not "we."
6. raised us up together--with Christ. The "raising up" presupposes
previous quickening of Jesus in the tomb, and of us in the grave of our
made us sit together--with Christ, namely, in His ascension. Believers
are bodily in heaven in point of right, and virtually so in spirit, and
have each their own place assigned there, which in due time they shall
take possession of
(Php 3:20, 21).
He does not say, "on the right hand of God"; a prerogative
reserved to Christ peculiarly; though they shall share His throne
in Christ Jesus--Our union with Him is the ground of our present
spiritual, and future bodily, resurrection and ascension. "Christ Jesus"
is the phrase mostly used in this Epistle, in which the office of
the Christ, the Anointed Prophet, Priest and King, is the prominent
thought; when the Person is prominent, "Jesus Christ" is the phrase
7. Greek, "That He might show forth (middle reflexive voice; for
His own glory,
Eph 1:6, 12, 14)
in the ages which are coming on," that is, the blessed ages of
the Gospel which supersede "the age (Greek, for 'course')
of this world"
and the past "ages" from which the mystery was hidden
(Col 1:26, 27).
These good ages, though beginning with the first preaching of the
Gospel, and thenceforth continually succeeding one another, are
not consummated till the Lord's coming again (compare
The words, "coming on," do not exclude the time then present,
but imply simply the ages following upon Christ's "raising them
up together" spiritually
through Christ--rather, as Greek, "in Christ"; the same
expression as is so often repeated, to mark that all our blessings
center "IN HIM."
8. For--illustrating "the exceeding riches of His grace in
kindness." Translate as in
"Ye are in a saved state."
through faith--the effect of the power of Christ's resurrection
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