Rich in Mercy

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, have quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved) 

‘Rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.’ Seven things that God has done: He resurrected us from death in sins (2:1, 5). He loved us (2:4). He saved us (2:5, 8-9). He made us sit down with Him (2:6, 10). He made a plan for us (2:7, 10). He created us in Christ (2:10). He brought us nearby Christ (2:13).

‘Dead in sins’ Three kinds of death in Scripture: Physical death: the separation of the inner man from the body (Jas. 2:26). Spiritual death: separation from God because of sin (2:1, 5; Isa. 59:2; Matt. 8:22; Col. 2:13; 1Tim. 5:6). Eternal death: eternal separation from God because man chooses to remain separated from God in sin (Matt. 10:28; 25:41, 46; Rev. 2:11; 14:9-11; 20:11-15; 21:8; 22:15 Isa. 66:22-24). This is called the second death or second separation from God (Rev. 2:11; 20:14; 21:8). Death in all Scripture means separation from the purpose for which one was created, never annihilation or extinction of being. Physical death is the separation of the inner man from the body. Only the body dies at this time and goes back to dust (Gen. 3:19; Jas. 2:26). The spirit and soul are immortal and are either dead in sins or possession of eternal life in Christ at the time of physical death. In either case, they continue in consciousness whether in paradise or hell.

‘Quickened us together with Christ’ – This is spiritual resurrection from death in trespasses and sins (2:1, 5-6). It is just as definite and complete as the physical resurrection (2Cor. 5:17-18).

Dead in Trespasses and Sins

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: 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. 

‘Dead in trespasses and sins.’ There are seven dead things in Scripture: Dead, living people (2:1, 5; Matt. 8:22; 2Cor. 5:14; Col. 2:13; 1Tim. 5:6). Living, dead people (Rom. 6:2, 7-14; Col. 2:20; 3:3; 2Tim. 2:11); Dead, living bodies (Rom. 8:10). Dead bodies (Jas. 2:26; John 5:28-29). Dead works (Heb. 6:1; 9:14). Dead faith (Jas. 2:17, 20, 26). Dead sin (Rom. 7:8).

‘Trespasses’ [Greek: paraptoma] a falling aside when one should have stood upright; any deviation from the rule of duty or moral equity, as well as any flagrant offence or trespass.

‘Sins’ [Greek: harmartia] a failure to hit the mark; always in a moral sense; a sin of thought, word, or deed.

‘You walked according to the course of this world.’ Fivefold state of sinners: They walk according to the world system (2:2). The word “course” refers to the evils that run like a stream through the whole world. According to the will of satan (2:2). In the lusts of the flesh (2:3; Gal. 5:19-21; Col. 3:5-10; Rom. 1:19-32). In the lusts of the mind or spirit (2:3; 2Cor. 7:1; 1Jn. 2:15-17). By nature as children of wrath (2:3; Ps. 51:5; John 8:44; Rom. 5:12-21).

‘World’ [Greek: kosmos] world system. Translated “world” 186 times, referring to various activities of the world as organized and run by satan and man.

‘The prince of the power of the air.’ This is in reality the old man of Scripture that works in the children of disobedience (Rom. 6:6; John 8:44; 1Jn. 3:8; 5:18). Satan is the prince [Greek: archon] or ruler of the air because in this realm the evil spirits dwell, all of whom are under his dominion (2:2; 3:10; 6:11-12; Col. 2:10; 1Pet. 3:22; Rev. 12:1-17).

‘Spirit that now works’ – When one gets rid of this spirit, he no longer has the old man in him or dominates him (2:2; 4:27; 6:10-18; 1Jn. 3:8-10; 5:18; Jas. 4:7; 1Pet. 5:8-9). It only works in the children of disobedience (2Cor. 5:17-18; 1Jn. 3:8-10; 5:18; Rom. 6:14-23).

‘Children of disobedience’ – A Hebraism for people consecrated to satan and disobedience (John 17:12). The wicked one is their father (Matt. 13:38; John 8:44; 1Jn. 3:8-10; 5:18).

‘Conversation in times past’ – Manner of life (2Cor. 1:12).

‘Lusts of our flesh’ – They are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revelling and such like.

‘Nature the children of wrath’ – Men are sinners by nature, being born in sin (Rom. 2:14; 5:12-21; Jas. 3:6; Ps. 51:5).

Dead to Sin

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 

‘What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? … How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?’ – having proved the sinfulness of both Jews and Gentiles and that both must be redeemed alike by Christ through faith and grace, Paul now takes up the argument of the divine method of dealing with sin and the secret of a victorious holy life (Romans 6:1-8:39). The questions come up that if salvation is free and apart from works – if the more heinous the sins the more abundant the grace to pardon then may we not go on in sin so that the grace of God may become magnified? God forbid.

Seven plain gospel facts are stated in 1John: Christ was manifested to take away our sins (1Jn. 3:5; Tit. 2:12). One cannot be in Christ and continue to sin (1Jn. 3:5-6; 2Cor. 5:17). Man can be as righteous as Christ in this life (1Jn. 3:7; 4:17; Tit. 2:12). Every man who sins is of the devil (1Jn. 3:8; John 8:44). Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn. 3:8; Matt. 8:17; Acts 10:38; John 10:10). One cannot sin as long as the Word of God remains in him (Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13; 1Jn. 3:9). All people are not children of God (1Jn. 3:10).

Literally thousands of religious teachers are constantly saying that no man can live free from sin, that we sin every day, and that there is no man that does not sin every day he lives. One can see that this teaching is entirely out of harmony with the Bible by reading Scripture. If these men sin every day, then they are sinners every day and there is no time that they are not sinners. If they are sinners all the time, then there is no time they are not under the death penalty of the broken law, and they will be sent to Hell as sinners to pay the death penalty. They are not Christians or saved from sin any one day they live if they sin every day they live. Christ means nothing to them if they are sinners and if they cannot be saved from sin. People who think they cannot live free from sin are really mistaken as to what sin is. If they class lack of knowledge, temptations, and common mistakes in life that do not break the law of God as sin, then they are right that no man lives free from sin. But if they think one cannot live free from the sins of Galatians 5:19-21 as well as Romans 1:21-32; 6:19; 2Corinthians 12:21; Ephesians 4:19; 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1Thessalonians 2:3; 4:7 and 2Peter 2:1-22 that will damn the soul, then they are all wrong, for such must be true of anyone who will be saved. Men who argue that no person can live without sin are simply using every excuse under the sun to continue in sin.  They want to make people believe that they are Christians and yet they want to indulge in some sin or bad habit that will condemn them in the end. Men can live free from sin if they get saved from sin and permit Christ to live in their lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. If men live in sin daily then there is not a day in which they are not tindering the condemnation of a broken law and they will be sent to Hell to pay the death penalty for sin.

‘God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ many reasons are given in Romans that we should not continue living in sin: Death to sin nullifies it (6:2-3); resurrection from spiritual death (6:4-5); we walk in newness of life (6:4); death to sin and resurrection from sin means walking like Christ (6:5; 1Pet. 2:21-22; 1Jn. 2:6; 4:6, 17); the old man is crucified and dead (6:6; Eph. 4:22-24; 1Jn. 5:18); the body of sin is destroyed, that henceforth we should not sin (6:6); we are freed from sin (6:7, 18, 22); faith counts sin dead (6:8); sin has no dominion over us (6:9); sin not to reign in the body (6:12); the body must not yield to sin (6:13); married to Christ, not sin (7:4); we walk in the Spirit (8:1-4); we are made free from the law of sin (8:2); we are spiritually minded (8:6); Christ is in us, not sin (8:10); we are not debtors to sin (8:12); the Spirit mortifies sin in us (8:13); we have Spirit of freedom (8:15); intercession of Christ and the Holy Spirit keeps us (8:26-27, 34).

Works of the Flesh

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, ….. they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Gal. 5:19a … 21b

No man who commits the sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 will ever inherit the kingdom of God unless he confesses and puts them out of his life.  These are called the works of the flesh and are given in contrast of the fruit of the Spirit that we receive as we are washed, sanctified and are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

These sins can be classified in four divisions, the four sins of lust: adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness, Gal. 5:19 the two sins of impiety and superstition: idolatry and witchcraft, Gal. 5:20 the nine sins of temper: hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings and murders, Gal. 5:20-21 and the two sins of the appetite: drunkenness and revellings. Gal. 5:21 Let’s have a look at them:

  1. Greek: moicheia (GSN-<G3430>), unlawful sexual relations between men and women, single or married. Mt. 15:19; Mk. 7:21; Jn. 8:3 Note the related Greek: verbs, moichao (GSN-<G3429>) Mt. 5:32, 19:9; Mk. 10:11-12 and moicheuo (GSN-<G3431>). Mt. 5:27-28; 19:18; Mk. 10:19; Lk. 16:18; 18:20; Jn. 8:4; Rom. 2:22; 13:9; Jas. 2:11; Rev. 2:22
  2. Greek: porneia (GSN-<G4202>), same as adultery above besides all manner of other unlawful relations.
  3. Greek: akatharsia (GSN-<G167>), whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, and all other forms of sexual perversion Mt. 23:27; Rom. 1:21-32; 6:19; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Th. 2:3; 4:7; 2Pet. 2
  4. Greek: aselgeia (GSN-<G766>), licentiousness, lustfulness, unchastity, and lewdness. Translated “lasciviousness” Mk. 7:22; 2Cor. 12:21; Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3; Jude 1:4 “wantonness” Rom. 13:13; 2Pet 2:18 and “filthy”. 2Pet. 2:7 Lasciviousness is the promoting or partaking of that which tends to produce lewd emotions, anything tending to foster sex sin and lust. That is why many worldly pleasures have to be avoided by Christians, so that lasciviousness may not be committed.
  5. Greek: eidololatreia (GSN-<G1495>), image-worship. 1Cor. 10:14; Col. 3:5; 1Pet. 4:3 Idolatry includes anything on which affections are passionately set; extravagant admiration of the heart. Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5
  6. Greek: pharmakeia (GSN-<G5331>), sorcery, practice of dealing with evil spirits; magical incantations and casting spells and charms upon one by means of drugs and potions of various kinds. Rev. 9:21; 18:23 Enchantments were used to inflict evil, pains, hatred, sufferings, and death, or to bring good, health, love and other blessings.
  7. Greek: echthra (GSN-<G2189>), enmity Lk. 23:12; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:15-16; Jas. 4:4 and hatred. Bitter dislike, abhorrence, malice and ill will against anyone; tendency to hold grudges against or be angry at someone.
  8. Greek: eris (GSN-<G2054>). Rom. 1:29 Dissensions, discord, quarreling, debating; and disputes.
  9. Greek: zeloi (GSN-<G2205>), envies, jealousies; striving to excel at the expense of another; seeking to surpass and out do others; uncurbed rivalry spirit in religion, business, society, and other fields of endeavor. Translated “zeal” Jn. 2:17; Rom. 10:2; 2Cor. 7:11; 9:2; Php. 3:6; Col. 4:13 “fervent mind” 2Cor. 7:7 “envy” Acts 13:45; Rom. 13:13; 1Cor. 3:3; 2Cor. 12:20; Jas. 3:14-15 “jealousy” 2Cor. 11:2 “indignation” Acts 5:17; Heb. 10:27 and “emulation”.
  10. Greek: thumos (GSN-<G2372>), “wrath” Lk. 4:28; Acts 19:28; 2Cor. 12:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Heb. 11:27; Rev. 12:12; 14:8,10,19; 15:1,7; 16:1; 18:3 “indignation” Rom. 2:8 and “fierceness”. Rev. 16:19; 19:15 Turbulent passions; domestic and civil turmoil; rage; determined and lasting anger.
  11. Greek: eritheia (GSN-<G2052>), “strife” 2Cor. 12:20; Php. 2:3; Jas. 3:14,16 “contention”. Php. 1:16; Rom. 2:8 Disputations; jangling; strife about words; angry contentions; contest for superiority or advantage; strenuous endeavor to equal or pay back in kind the wrongs done to one.
  12. Greek: dichostasia (GSN-<G1370>), “divisions” Rom. 16:17; 1Cor. 3:3 “seditions, parties, and factions”. Popular disorder; stirring up strife in religion, government, home, or any other place.
  13. Greek: hairesis (GSN-<G139>), a choosing, hence, a sect Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5; 26:5; 28:22 and heresy. Acts 24:14; 1Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2Pet. 2:1
  14. Greek: phthonoi (GSN-<G5355>) Mt. 27:18; Mk. 15:10; Rom. 1:29; Php. 1:15; 1Tim. 6:4; Tit. 3:3; Jas. 4:5; 1Pet. 2:1 Pain, ill will, and jealousy at the good fortune or blessings of another; the most base of all degrading and disgraceful passions.
  15. Greek: phonoi (GSN-<G5408>) Mt. 15:18 to kill; to spoil or mar the happiness of another; hatred. 1Jn. 3:15
  16. Greek: methai (GSN-<G3178>) Lk. 21:34; Rom. 13:13 Drinking, living intoxicated; a slave to drink; drinking bouts.
  17. Greek: komoi (GSN-<G2970>) 1Pet. 4:3 rioting. Rom. 13:13 Lascivious and boisterous feastings, with obscene music, and other sinful activities; pleasures; carousing.

Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1Cor. 6:9-11 KJV

I choose to live a life wherein I die to the self and the works of the flesh and I choose to live in the Spirit and in Truth and not to give in to worldly or fleshly lusts. I choose to serve Christ Jesus! Amen