We are going to work slowly through these next few verses so that we can truly see what is being said here. Remember there are two parts of these devotions: a deeper understanding which is “expositional” and a principle breakdown. All the details are the same, just written differently. So you can skip to the principle if you don’t like those geeky explanations of words 😛
2 1And 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.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”: The word “dead” here literally means unable to respond to impulses, or perform functions and is connected to “trespasses” which are mistakes not intentional disobedience, and “sins” which are intentional wrong doings. This combines both sides of our wrong doings, not just pointing to the things we do out of evil intent.
“in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air,” This part of the verse indicates that before now you followed that path (the former statement of death) which is the same course that everyone who is ungodly is following. Notice the significance of how this path is literally the direction in which the enemy is leading them. They are not just indifferent, they are intently following the enemy.
“the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” The same people who are following Satan are not only following him, but until their rebirth (by Christ) they are actually descendants of disobedience, presenting those characteristics as a natural outworking of our very nature and birth. From birth we are prone to disobey and follow Satan (both unknowingly and knowingly – as it indicated in verse 1).
Before our rebirth through Jesus we were not only sinning intentionally but also unintentionally and both produced death in us. In fact, before we were reborn we actually followed Satan in all of our ways. We followed Satan in accordance with that first verse – intentionally and unintentionally. The reason we did all this was because we are “sons of disobedience” from birth. As a dog is born looking like a doggy, so we were born looking like our disobedient forefathers. The first humans reflected God but disobeyed which led to every child thereafter reflecting their parents who no longer reflected God. Humans were CREATED in God’s image, but that does not mean that every human from then on reflected God’s image. Instead they became sons of disobedience and started displaying disobedient characteristics from birth.
So, are you curious why you are constantly at war with doing right versus wrong?! Well… it’s because you are trying to go against your very nature. You were not just indifferent before you were saved, you were the very display of antichrist or the opposite of Christ. Your actions worked against God’s desires and every decision you made was based upon your own opinions or desires- setting yourself up as your own God. You had no way of doing anything different. Praise the Lord that God now has given you a way! However, you must work with Him in retraining your old habit of listening to Satan.
Now that you have been saved God has given you a new nature but it is your duty to partner with God and repress your old nature through the Spirit. This concept will be played out through this book. We will see in chapter four we are “to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” You are struggling because you are doing something that no natural man can do: deny your natural self. The struggle is real, because it’s a supernatural journey that you are on and you’re likely evaluating it with natural senses and perhaps even trying to accomplish it with natural ability. We are called to live in accordance with our supernatural Father, and obey His commands. That indicates we are hearing instructions – which shows we can now see the difference.
Instead of growing weary because of our mistakes, be thankful that you can now see the choice and have the freedom to choose! We are a new creation because we are no longer slaves to sin but can choose between it and righteousness. Even further- we are not to be evaluated in natural senses but supernatural senses. What do I mean? Well, don’t look at your life and think “look at these sins” instead look at your life and think “wow, look at these actions of righteousness.” The sins are present because you haven’t left this world, they are a sign of the fall. In the same way your righteous desires are present because you have the Spirit and are sings that you have been regenerated!! Don’t let a few (or many) mistakes cause you to overlook the truth: if you are seeking God and have a heart that desires to glorify Him then you have the Holy Spirit living in you.
Spend 1 minute thanking God you no longer HAVE to choose the wrong things. Then spend 2-3 minutes asking God to help you walk in your new creation, your new ability.
Let’s do a self change here: Instead of looking at sinners as people who are intentionally being hateful/disobedient/etc. let’s see them as they truly are- people who are acting on their only option which is displaying their nature. Begin to realize that sinners have no option of being righteous and doing what is good because the only way to do that is to do it for the purpose of God’s glory. Any other reasoning of doing “good” is still setup to worship ourselves or other humans and is, in it’s nature, still sinful and unrighteous. The actions themselves are not the indicator of “righteous or not” but the heart behind them. That means you need to view the “good” unbelievers in the same way. They are only morally good out of selfish reasons, they still need Jesus. Then you take that mindset and apply it to believers: they are doing the wrong things or hurting you either 1) because it’s their old ways coming through or 2)you’re just misinterpreting their actions because of your old ways 😛