"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in
trespasses and sins: 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the
course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among
whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our
flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by
nature the children of wrath, even as others."
The above passage of scripture tells us first what God did
to us and then it tells what our condition was before he did it to us.
What God did to us is quicken us. The word, "quickened," means to give
life. From the context, we know that it was not talking about giving us
natural life. Before this quickening took place, we had natural life.
We were walking, living, and fulfilling. Thus, we had natural life.
The quickening was not to give us natural life which we already had, but
to give us spiritual life which we did not have until we were quickened.
Before we were quickened, we were dead in trespasses and
sins. For something to be dead does not mean that it had life
beforehand. Rocks are dead, but they did not have life beforehand. The
word, "dead," means absence of life. There are many things on the earth
that are dead that never had life, yet they are absent of life,
therefore, they are dead. Being dead in trespasses and sins refers us
back to the covenant that God made with Adam whereby he told Adam, "In
the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." When Adam ate of
the tree of he knowledge of good and evil he died in trespasses and
sins. His natural life did not cease for over nine hundred years, yet
he died immediately in trespasses and sins.
Rom. 3:9-19 describes man's state of being dead in
trespasses and sins: Rom. 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in
no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are
all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not
one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh
after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become
unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their
throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit;
the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of
cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16
Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have
they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we
know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are
under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may
become guilty before God."
Rom. 5:12 tells us that the sentence of death passed to all
of human kind based on what Adam had done in the Garden of Eden: 12
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
David affirmed this and stated that he was a sinner from
conception: Ps. 51:5 "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did
my mother conceive me." Our natural state of being dead in trespasses
and sins began at conception. In this state, we had no ability to fear
God, to seek after God, to understand the things of the Spirit of God,
to do good, to become righteous, or to know the way of peace, or to
cease from sin. We were dead to the things of the Spirit of God.
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of
this world." When we were dead in trespasses and sins and before we
were quickened into spiritual life we walked according to the course of
this world. The following verses of scripture speak of the nature of
this world system in which we dwell:
1. James 4:4 "Ye adulterers and adulteresses,
know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?
whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
2. 1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the
things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the
Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust
thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
following after the course of this world, we were the enemies of God and
showing that the love of the Father was not in us at the time.
Furthermore, the carnal lust we were following after was not of the
Father but was after the world.
"According to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit
that now worketh in the children of disobedience." When we were dead in
trespasses and sins and before we were quickened into spiritual life, we
had a spirit working in us. The spirit working in us was the same
spirit that is currently working in the children of disobedience
(non-elect). The spirit working in us before we were quickened into
spiritual life was the prince of the power of the air. The prince of
the power of the air is Satan. He is the prince of all unclean spirits,
thus, the prince of the power of the air.
So far we have noted that before we were quickened into
spiritual life we were following the course of the world as the enemies
of God and that the spirit of Satan was the spirit working in us.
"Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past
in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of
the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
"Among whom" means that we were living and acting in the same way as
those who are the children of disobedience. Before being born of the
Spirit we were no different in our actions than those who are not of the
elect and will never be born of the Spirit.
The word, "conversation," comes from the Greek word, "anastrepho,"
meaning behavior. In other words, this was our behavior before we were
quickened into spiritual life. We were living and fulfilling the
fleshly lust. This was our manner of living. We sought out to satisfy
our fleshly lusts and the lust of the mind. Our every action was based
on satisfying the fleshly lust and the lust of the mind. Paul said,
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing."
Furthermore, our nature was identical to the nature of the
children of wrath. The nature of the children of wrath is only evil
continually and for which the wrath of God abides on them forever.
Seeing that we were by nature the children of wrath, and
that we were walking as the very enemies of God, and that we were being
motivated by the spirit of Satan, and that we were living to satisfy our
evil fleshly lusts, then why did God quicken us? It certainly was not
based on any good in us or good done by us or any desire or will that we
possessed towards God. The answer is found in God's covenant grace. We
quickened us by his grace and that according to the covenant of
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding
riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
The phrase, "But God," is set in contrast to the state or
condition we were in prior to being born of the Spirit of God. When we
were dead in trespasses and sins we walked as the enemies of God, had
the spirit of Satan working in us, lived our lives to satisfy the lust
of the flesh and of the mind and had no desire or ability to seek after
God. Yet, in contrast to this God manifest his great mercy, love, and
grace towards us. We certainly were in no way deserving of God's mercy,
love, and grace.
"Who is rich in mercy." There is a difference between mercy
and grace. Mercy speaks of our judicial state. We deserved the
wrathful judgment of God because of sin. Yet God was merciful and we
did not receive his wrathful judgment upon us even though we deserved
it. Thus, in mercy we do not receive something that we deserve. By the
grace of God, we receive eternal life and forgiveness of sins. We do
not deserve eternal life or forgiveness of sins, yet we do receive
them. Grace is when we receive something from God that we do not
deserve. For us to receive eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and the
spiritual birth, God had to be rich in mercy. We could not have been
the recipients of eternal life, forgiveness of sins, and the spiritual
birth, unless God was rich in mercy. It took a whole lot of mercy for
God to deliver us from what our sins deserved. It is only by the
richness of God's mercy that we are delivered from the wrath of God's
judgment against our sins through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.
"For his great love wherewith he loved us." God's love is
indeed great. There was not anything about us that was worthy of God's
love. We were living our lives as the enemies of God. We were
following the spirit of Satan. We were fulfilling the lusts of the
flesh and of the mind through continual sinful actions. Furthermore, we
read in Rom. 5:1-10 we read where we were without strength, ungodly,
sinners, and enemies of God and yet God loved us and Christ died for
us. This certainly is a great love wherewith he loved us. He loved us
even when we were unlovable, except by a covenant making and keeping
God. Praise be to God for his great love.
"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together
with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" The word, "together," indicates
a unity of time and position. Since we are all born of the Spirit at
God's appointed time and not born of the Spirit at the same time, then
the quickening together has to refer to the covenant work of Christ. In
the covenant of redemption, we are all called or quickened of
God: Rom. 8:29, 30, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate
to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also
called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he
justified, them he also glorified." By using the phrase, "quickened
together with Christ," Paul is showing that this quickening is by and
according to the covenant work of God.
"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in
heavenly places in Christ Jesus." The raising up together and making
sit together are also a part of the covenant work of Christ. We are
raised up together in the resurrection and we are made to sit together
in the finished work of justification from sin by the atoning blood of
Jesus Christ. This phraseology refers us back to the covenant of
redemption and Christ's work according to the covenant of redemption.
In his covenant work he calls us into spiritual life, he justifies us by
his blood, and he glorifies us in the resurrection.
"That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches
of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." We are
living in these ages to come. We are living in this gospel age where
the gospel declares what Christ had done for us through the exceeding
riches of his grace and by his great kindness towards us through Christ
Jesus. May all the praise, honor, and glory be given to God and not to
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man
should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
There is a theological controversy over what the phrase "and
that not of yourselves" applies to. Does it apply to the grace, or does
it apply to the saving, or does it apply to the faith?
Grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God bestowed on
undeserving creatures. By its very definition grace is not of yourself.
The salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration
or the new birth. As we have already seen, the quickening to spiritual
life is by the grace of God.
Since the salvation under consideration is through faith,
then is it the creatures faith or is it the faithfulness of the Holy
Spirit? It cannot be the creatures' faith because we are described as
being dead in trespasses and sins before we are born of the Spirit.
Faith is a fruit of the Spirit. We must be born of the Spirit before we
can exercise faith. That leaves the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit to
carry forth the provision of the covenant of redemption through calling
the elect to spiritual life. Our conclusion is that the grace, the
salvation, and the faith is the gift of God and is not of ourselves.
In addition, our salvation through the faithfulness of the
Holy Spirit to cause us to be born of the Spirit is not brought about by
our works. If we could do anything to cause the new birth then we would
have room to boast. But we are told that we have nothing to boast of
because our works have nothing to do with our being quickened into
"We are his workmanship." The works that cause us to be
born of the Spirit is the works of the Spirit. We are the spiritual
workmanship of God. It is God who has created us and formed us as it
has pleased Him.
"Created in Christ Jesus unto good works." God is the only
Creator. He created the natural universe in six days and every thing
that is in it. Then he rested on the seventh day as the work of natural
creation was finished. There hasn't been anything else in nature that
has been created since that first week. Rev 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O
Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all
things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." As we said
natural creation was finished in the first six days. Yet spiritual
creation continues until all the elect are created spiritually in Christ
Jesus unto good works.
Man did not help with natural creation and man does not help
with spiritual creation. Creation is the work of the Creator alone.
Our works are excluded from the work of creation.
God is a God of purpose. What he does, he purposes to do
and we can rest assured that God has a purpose in all that he does. The
purpose of God in spiritual creation is that we are created in Christ
Jesus "unto good works." He has created us for the purpose that we do
the good works he has appointed for us to do. This is our purpose also
as the created workmanship of God. We should consider ourselves to be
here to perform the good works God has purposed for us to do.
"Which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
them." God ordained or appointed the good works for us to do. Our walk
was not ordained, but the good works were appointed for us and we should
walk in them. We have much joy when we walk in the good works that God
has appointed for us to walk in. It is pleasing to God for us to walk
in those good works.
The scriptures are given so that we may be thoroughly
furnished unto all good works: 2 Tim. 3:16, 17 "All scripture is given
by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be
perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." We are created for
the purpose of doing the good works. Doing these good works give glory
to God: Mat. 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." May the
Lord help us to do the good works to which we were created and to which
the scriptures thoroughly furnish us.