And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 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— 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 ESV)
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians doesn’t address any particular problem in the church as do his other letters. Rather it explains truths about the human race and the standing that people have before a perfectly holy God.
In today’s passage Paul explains that all people by nature are followers of Satan who he refers to as “the prince of the power of the air”. The word “prince” indicates that Satan has authority – but notice not as much as Jesus who is a king. The word “air” indicates his realm – the entire earth. Satan has dominion of this planet at the current time. He has had it since Genesis 3 when Adam & Eve disobeyed God and chose to obey Satan instead.
Since that time every human being has been born without a relationship with God. Instead we follow “the course of this world””. That is, we pay no attention to God and do not seek or heed His advice for our lives. Rather we just live like everyone else is living.
The world thinks that obeying God is bondage and eliminating Him from our culture – as we are rapidly doing in the United States – will bring freedom. But this is a mistaken theology. Everyone is a follower. We either follow Satan or we follow God.
Many people mistakenly believe that every human being is a child of God. Nowhere is this taught in the Bible. Rather, the Bible says that anyone who is outside of God’s family has Satan as their father [John 8:44]. It is only people who are born-again and who are therefore adopted into God’s family who are His children [John 1:12].
Certainly we can look around and see that the vast majority of people live apart from God. They selfishly indulge in the “passions of the flesh” and the “desires of the body and mind”. This is how God’s children – born-again believers (to whom Paul is writing) – lived too before being saved. While even saved people still sin, we are no longer under the authority of Satan, “like the rest of mankind”. God is our Father now.
These verses, Ephesians 2:1-3, paint a hopeless picture of the human race. We are corrupt. We are degenerate. We are on the wrong path, although we think it is the right one [Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23]. Due to our inherent sin we all deserve God’s wrath. God would be well within His right to eliminate us from His life.
But there is hope. We’ll read about that tomorrow.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.