Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dead, Part 1 of 3

I haven't received the grade on it yet, but I'll post in a series format a paper I wrote on the condition of the unbeliever.

In the Apostle Paul’s letters to the Christians of Ephesus and Colosse he reminded them of their spiritual state before experiencing new life in Christ. Their former separation from God was due not only to their sinful behavior, but also to their very nature as sinners. Paul chose particularly vivid phrases to ensure his readers would understand the degree of their depravity and the extent and effectiveness of God’s grace. This essay will examine the unique phrases Paul used to demonstrate the condition of the sinner before God. Every unbeliever has an unregenerate sinful nature which is expressed by active sinful behavior.

Both Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13 are significant in this discussion because of their similar wording and equivalent meaning. In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul verbalizes his prayer for the believers, concluding it by extolling God’s power in what He has done in Christ giving Him authority over all things (vv. 20-23). Colossians 2:8-12 begins with Paul exhorting the believers to stand firm in the truth because of who Christ is and who we are in Christ. When the reader arrives at our texts, there is a striking contrast between Jesus and the unbeliever. Jesus is above “all rule and authority (Eph. 1:21; Col. 2:10)” and in whom the “immeasurable greatness of [God’s] power” was demonstrated in Christ (Eph. 1:19-20; Col. 2:12). The unbeliever is “dead in the trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1),” and in “the uncircumcision of [their] flesh (Col. 2:13).” These passages contain three phrases that define former condition of believers: (1) dead in trespasses, (2) dead in sins, and (3) dead in the uncircumcision of their flesh. Before looking at those phrases, it is important to ask, “what is death,” which will be tomorrow's post.