|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-10 Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. When we look upon a corpse, it gives an awful feeling. A never-dying spirit is now fled, and has left nothing but the ruins of a man. But if we viewed things aright, we should be far more affected by the thought of a dead soul, a lost, fallen spirit. A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world. Wicked men are slaves to Satan. Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men. From Scripture it is clear, that whether men have been most prone to sensual or to spiritual wickedness, all men, being naturally children of disobedience, are also by nature children of wrath. What reason have sinners, then, to seek earnestly for that grace which will make them, of children of wrath, children of God and heirs of glory! God's eternal love or good-will toward his creatures, is the fountain whence all his mercies flow to us; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy is rich mercy. And every converted sinner is a saved sinner; delivered from sin and wrath. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. Grace in the soul is a new life in the soul. A regenerated sinner becomes a living soul; he lives a life of holiness, being born of God: he lives, being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above this world, by Christ's grace. The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore, encourages others in after-time, to hope in his grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out. All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by his power. It was his purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and his Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. None can from Scripture abuse this doctrine, or accuse it of any tendency to evil. All who do so, are without excuse.
Verses 1-10. - SPIRITUAL HISTORY OF THE EPHESIANS. This passage corresponds to Genesis 1. It is a history of creation, and we note the same great stages.
1. Chaos (vers. 1-3).
2. The dawn - the Spirit of God moving on the face of the waters (ver. 4).
3. The work of creation - in successive stages (vers. 4-10). Verse 1. - You also, who were dead in your trespasses and your sins. The apostle returns from his digression, in which he had shown the marvelous working of the Divine power on Christ, to show the working of the same power on the Ephesian converts themselves. The ὑμἀς is not governed by any verb going before; it manifestly depends on the συνεζωοποίησεν of ver. 5, but it is separated from it by a new digression (vers. 2, 3), on which the apostle immediately starts. While the same quickening power of God was exerted on Christ and on the Ephesians, it was exerted to very different effects: in the case of Christ, raising him literally from the dead and exalting him to heavenly glory; in the case of the Ephesians, raising them from spiritual death and exalting them to high spiritual privileges. We may observe the change from the second to the first person, and vice versa, in this chapter as in Ephesians 1. Second person (vers. 1, 8, 11); first (vers. 3, 10, 14); and the two streams brought together (ver. 18). The chapter closes beautifully with an emblem of the Church as the one temple of which all believers are parts. The death ascribed to the Ephesians in their natural state is evidently spiritual death, and "trespasses and sins," being in the dative (νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασι καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις), seems to indicate the cause of death - "dead through your trespasses and your sins" (R.V.); "dead of your trespasses," etc., is suggested by Alford. It is not easy to assign a different meaning to the two nouns here; some suggest acts of transgression for the one, and sinful tendencies or principles for the other, but this distinction cannot be carried out in all other passages. The killing effect of sin is indicated. As sins of sensuality kill truthfulness, industry, integrity, and all virtue, so sin generally, affecting as it does our whole nature, kills, or does not suffer to live, the affections and movements of the spiritual life. A state of "death" implies previous life - the race lived before; it implies also a state of insensibility, of utter powerlessness and helplessness.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And you hath he quickened,.... The design of the apostle in this and some following verses, is to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and to set forth the sad estate and condition of man by nature, and to magnify the riches of the grace of God, and represent the exceeding greatness of his power in conversion: the phrase
hath he quickened, is not in the original text, but is supplied from Ephesians 2:5, where it will be met with and explained: here those who are quickened with Christ, and by the power and grace of God, are described in their natural and unregenerate estate,
who were dead in trespasses and sins; not only dead in Adam, in whom they sinned, being their federal head and representative; and in a legal sense, the sentence of condemnation and death having passed upon them; but in a moral sense, through original sin, and their own actual transgressions: which death lies in a separation from God, Father, Son, and Spirit, such are without God, and are alienated from the life of God, and they are without Christ, who is the author and giver of life, and they are sensual, not having the Spirit, who is the spirit of life; and in a deformation of the image of God, such are dead as to their understandings, wills, and affections, with respect to spiritual things, and as to their capacity to do any thing that is spiritually good; and in a loss of original righteousness; and in a privation of the sense of sin and misery; and in a servitude to sin, Satan, and the world: hence it appears, that man must be in himself unacceptable to God, infectious and hurtful to his fellow creatures, and incapable of helping himself: so it was usual with the Jews to call a wicked and ignorant man, a dead man; they say (i),
"there is no death like that of those that transgress the words of the law, who are called, "dead men", and therefore the Scripture says, "turn and live".''
And again (k),
"no man is called a living man, but he who is in the way of truth in this world.----And a wicked man who does not go in the way of truth, is called, "a dead man".''
And once more (l).
"whoever is without wisdom, lo, he is "as a dead man";''
See Gill on 1 Timothy 5:6. The Alexandrian and Claromontane copies, and one of Stephens's, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "dead in your trespasses and sins"; and the Syriac version, "dead in your sins and in your trespasses"; and the Ethiopic version only, "dead in your sins".
(i) Zohar in Gen, fol. 41. 3.((k) Ib. in Num. fol. 76. 1. Vid. ib;. in Exod. fol. 44. 2.((l) Caphtor, fol. 30. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Eph 2:1-22. God's Love and Grace in Quickening Us, Once Dead, through Christ. His Purpose in Doing So: Exhortation Based on Our Privileges as Built Together, an Holy Temple, in Christ, through the Spirit.
1. And you—"You also," among those who have experienced His mighty power in enabling them to believe (Eph 1:19-23).
hath he quickened—supplied from the Greek (Eph 2:5).
dead—spiritually. (Col 2:13). 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. Isa 9:2; Joh 5:25, "dead" (spiritually), 1Ti 5:6. "Alienated from the life of God" (Eph 4:18). 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 God.
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