The first thing to notice about Ephesians chapter two is that it begins with the conjunction “and” which joins it to the previous verses in chapter one. There are no chapter divisions in Greek or Hebrew. In Chapter one Paul was saying…
Eph 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. NKJV
(CEV) The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.
Then he dives into the next thought….
Eph 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, [italics means it was not in original text]
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
Eph 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Paul lays out our previous condition before we believed and received Jesus Christ. We were dead in trespasses and sins, being a slave to the “Prince of the power of the air, the spirit now working…” This malevolent spirit is working in the spirits of ALL those who do not have Jesus Christ. They are called “sons of disobedience.”
Obedience equals faith in Jesus in the New Covenant. Disobedience simply means unbelief. All unbelievers are then termed disobedient yet it is not that they have any real choice for they are indwelt by one stronger than themselves. Their very nature is the evil one as was ours too. Paul was given authority and an anointing to bring the Gentiles into the obedience of faith through preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
At the end of chapter one we are told that Jesus fills the church with the fullness of God…then we are being told that Satan, the prince of the air fills unbelievers full of himself. This is the contrast that is the real world situation. Children of light and children of darkness. The body of Christ filled with God and the body of Satan filled with the Evil one.
The Prince of the air could easily be called the Prince of the spirit, for “air” and “spirit” are often interchangeable in Scripture. People talk about Spiritual powers up in the air or in the second heaven, but the Prince of the air has taken up residence in the spirit(air) of Mankind. Any spiritual warfare done against the Principalities in the air up in the sky is useless. The strongman dwells in the air or heavens inside a human being. That is where the warfare is. When that same Strongman, that Prince of the air came to Jesus He said, “he has nothing in Me”. John 14:30 Why? Because Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God.
In verse 3 above the NKJV says, “we ALL once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh”. The word is anastrepho and means:
1) to turn upside down, overturn
2) to turn back
4) metaphorically to conduct one’s self, behave one’s self, live
It comes from two words, the first- ana meaning in the midst or amidst..the second strepho meaning
1) to turn, turn around
2) to turn one’s self
2a) of one who no longer cares for another)
2b) metaphorically to turn one’s self from one’s course of conduct, i.e. to change one’s mind
Have a look at the meanings above and consider the meaning of what Paul was saying.
After telling us that the Prince of the air is at work in all those who do not believe he then re-minds and teaches believers that we ALL once were turned upside down by this spirit of the air. We all were under his power and control doing whatever our fleshly desires wanted to do. The flesh was not the problem but the spirit that indwelt our spirit- he was the problem. The flesh is neutral in all of this battle. The spirit is the place where the controlling person sits. Paul clearly tells us that if we are still an unbeliever then the Prince of darkness dwells in our spirit as the controller. His presence in us causes us to be upside down in the midst of our being. Instead of our spirit being filled with God, which is His intention for all people, we were filled with Satan the prince of the power of the air. We were one spirit with him, joined at that spirit level of being. This fallen spirit we once were, could only turn around and look to the flesh for it’s leadership. Instead of having oneness with God’s holy loving Spirit, our spirit was one with Darkness and therefore subject to the flesh.
It is meant to be the other way around. The fallen man is in a condition from birth that is turned away from Light—turned away from God–That is our condition or nature. Our backs are towards Jesus. We despise and reject Him constantly without even knowing. That is our condition which we inherited from Adam. It is a condition of being a rebel towards God. We may be a “good” law abiding person, a nice person, even a church going person but if we have not received Jesus Christ in our spirit to replace the evil one who dwelt there, then we are still in disobedience to God.
We conduct ourselves in the lusts or desires of the flesh. It is not something we set out to do but it simply just is the way we are. That is the true condition of man whether good men or bad men- all are the same. All have been born with the rebellious nature or spirit of Satan joined as one with their human spirit. We all need to be saved! We are all children of wrath! God’s wrath is upon us not because he hates us, but to set us free from the darkness within, which unfortunately, we do not even know is there. Most people do not even believe in sin, the Devil, God, or even that they have a human spirit, such is the blindness of man.
After describing the negative side of our human condition before obeying(believing)the Gospel, and the true condition of all who do not yet believe, Paul moves into the positive side of things.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (nkjv)
Because of His great love!! Say that phrase out loud– “Because of His great love with which He loved us”!!
Even when we were dead….Notice that God did not wait until we cleaned up our act and got rid of our sinful ways. He did not wait for us to call upon Him or to acknowledge Him, He went ahead and did what He had planned to do from before the beginning of time. He sent His only begotten Son, the Word made flesh, to take our sin nature upon Himself, dying under it’s penalty. The innocent One for the guilty ones. In death He destroyed it’s power. He poured out His soul for us and God was pleased with it so that He raised Him up physically alive forever more. But that was not all God did.
Jesus is called the Last Adam. When the First Adam disobeyed God in the garden, we were there in his loins. When Adam sinned the Prince of the power of the air moved into his heart to turn things upside down in Adam’s life. But not only in Adam, but in all his descendants as well. Adam passed onto us death and sin as our nature. We are all from Adam and therefore we all suffer under the curse of death and sin from birth.
But when Jesus came forth onto the scene at the right time in His Story it was God’s plan unfolding to restore man to his place as a child of God. Adam represented all of mankind and failed….now Jesus, being the Son of Man and the Son of God has triumphed. He obeyed the Father’s every word and rose victorious from the Tomb as proof that God was satisfied with His work.
So Paul says “…and (God) raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,..” (nkjv) Eph 2:6
While we were yet His enemies He died this for us to save us–to seat us with Him, and in Him, in the heavenly. The heavenly? That is not way up there in a far away heaven one day, but here, now, in your heavenly heart. The place where the Lord Jesus dwells is your spirit, your heart! That is His throne and He has filled you full with all the fullness of God. All because of His great love for you!!
Rejoice for He is risen and you are risen in Him. Together you are seated in Victory having had your heart turned away from the flesh and now beholding the Lord Who is the Spirit dwelling with your spirit. We have a new nature- the Lord Jesus Christ – the old sin nature belonged to our previous Lord -the Prince of the power of the air. He has been evicted forever from our spirit.
Just as we were once darkness, dwelling in darkness, filled full with darkness, BECAUSE Darkness himself dwelt in us filling us with his influence: So now we are light, dwelling in Light, filled full of light, BECAUSE Light Himself dwells in us filling us with all the fullness of Himself.
Darkness is a past tense thing for those who are in Christ now. We were once darkness….now we are children of light. Paul is always, ALWAYS!! telling us our identity so that we will grab a hold of it by faith and believe it despite what present darkness we may be surrounded by in life.