Dead in sin and trespasses...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by glfredrick, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    The phrase, "Dead in sin and trespasses..." seems to cause some level of consternation here on the board in some circles, particularly those of the un-named theology group, but also some in the libertarian free will camp and those who hold Arminian theology.

    The phrase is lifted directly from Ephesians 2:1, rendered below:

    New International Version (©1984)
    As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

    English Standard Version (©2001)
    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

    King James Bible
    And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins;

    American King James Version
    And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

    American Standard Version
    And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins,

    Young's Literal Translation
    Also you -- being dead in the trespasses and the sins,

    ΠΡΟΣ ΕΦΕΣΙΟΥΣ 2:1 Greek NT: Stephanus Textus Receptus (1550, with accents)
    Καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις

    ΠΡΟΣ ΕΦΕΣΙΟΥΣ 2:1 Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
    και υμας οντας νεκρους τοις παραπτωμασιν και ταις αμαρτιαις

    ΠΡΟΣ ΕΦΕΣΙΟΥΣ 2:1 Greek NT: Textus Receptus (1894)
    και υμας οντας νεκρους τοις παραπτωμασιν και ταις αμαρτιαις



    So, background set, what IS the problem with saying that we are dead in our sin and trespasses?

    Why is this very clear and biblical teaching a problem to some?
     
  2. Van

    Van
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    It is of course no problem agreeing with scripture, prior to being made alive, together with Christ, we are all spiritually dead, meaning separated from God due to our sinful state.

    The fly in the buttermilk is we have two very different understandings of what the consequences of being spiritually dead are. Does it mean we can do nothing, like a dead person to earn our salvation. Yes. Does it mean we cannot do anything righteous of and by itself? Yes. Does it mean we are unable to hear and understand the milk of the gospel in our unregenerate, i.e. dead, state? No. But some say yes and in my opinion that is a mistaken view.
     
  3. Van

    Van
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    Spiritual Deadness?

    Scripture teaches that the fall resulted in the spiritual death of all mankind. Romans 5:6 says that while we were still helpless, Jesus died for the ungodly. Romans 5:8 says God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for sinners. Romans 5:10 says for if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we have been saved by His life. Paul sums up his description of spiritual death in Romans 5:12 which says “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned.”

    If we unwind Paul’s presentation of the doctrine, we see that original sin, the consequence of Adam’s sin, resulted in mankind being made sinners (Romans 5:19) and in this ungodly state we are helpless to reconcile ourselves to God. So the meaning of spiritual deadness is to be separated from God (unreconciled) and helpless (unable to reconcile ourselves to God.) 2 Corinthians 5:19 adds insight into Paul’s meaning of being “enemies” and that is that sinners are enemies for they trespass against God. Colossians 2:13 states the point well, the unsaved are dead (1) in their trespasses, and (2) in the uncircumcision of their flesh, but the saved are alive (1) together with Him, and (2) with their sins forgiven. So being spiritually dead we are not “together with Him” hence separated from God, and (2) being dead we have not been set apart for God (spiritually circumcised) for we are “in Adam” rather than being “in Christ.”

    But does spiritual deadness result in being unable to hear and learn from the father, or believe fully in Christ? No. Spiritual deadness does not suggest we are blind and deaf to all spiritual truth, but it does result in being blind and death to the things appraised through the leading of the indwelt Spirit of Christ, because not being “in Christ” means the spiritually dead are also not indwelt with the Holy Spirit. But men of the flesh can understand the milk of the gospel, 1 Corinthians 3:1, just not spiritual meat.

    Well, does being spiritually dead mean the unsaved are constantly focused on the flesh and cannot aspire to the righteousness of God? No. For example, Genesis 6:5 is frequently cited as a proof-text to support the mistaken notion of uniform behavior against God. But if you read the passage, you will find that the condition described in Genesis 6:5 did not result in all men constantly opposing God, for Noah found favor in His sight, Genesis 6:8. Thus the condition of having a fallen wicked heart whose intent is continually evil does not preclude knowing about God and His righteousness, for God made it evident to them, Romans 1:19.

    How about does being spiritually dead mean being under the influence of Satan and in bondage to sin? Yes. But bondage to sin does not mean every thought of a spiritually dead person is sinful, recall Noah, but means the consequence of being a sinner is being helpless to escape our separation from God, and the uncircumcision of our flesh. 1 John 5:19 teaches the spiritually dead are under the sway of Satan. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 indicates that believers should gently present the gospel of Christ to spiritually dead people who are opposed to God, because if God does not preclude them from coming to Christ, they may come to their senses and to the knowledge of the Truth (Jesus Christ.)

    Does being spiritually dead mean the unsaved are unable to repent, to believe, or to come to Christ? No. John 6:65 does not say no one can come to Christ unless God enables them because they are unable. It says no one can come to Christ unless God grants or gives the opportunity, or allows the person to come to Christ. In view is Judas who was selected to betray Jesus, and thus was not allowed to come to Christ. In Romans 3:9-12 Paul uses a citation from Psalm 14:1-3 or Psalm 53:1-4 to show that we are all sinners who are not righteous, and as a consequence do not understand that our works of righteousness are as filthy rags to God, or that as a sinner our efforts to seek God by works of righteousness is not actually seeking God, for by the works of the Law, no flesh will be justified, and we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Therefore Romans 3:9-12 indicates we are unable to seek Christ through works, but does not suggest we are unable to seek Christ through faith. In fact Paul says exactly that in Romans 3:28.

    Well what about the fact that a mind set of the flesh (Romans 8:7) is hostile to God? Here the key idea is that our mind may be set on our fleshly desires, or the mind of the spiritually dead may be set on spiritual desires, pursuing the righteousness of God through faith in Christ. Paul describes how he set his mind of spiritual desires in Romans 7:14:25 and pleaded as a wretched man to be set free from the uncircumcision of the flesh.

    In summary, Spiritual deadness is a sound doctrine, for the unsaved “in Adam” are separated from the living God, just as when we physically die, we are separated from the physically living, and being dead there is nothing the dead can do to unite with God. God makes us alive, together with Christ, when He spiritually puts us in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). But being spiritually dead does not result in not being able to recognize what God makes evident through His revelation, nor does it result in the inability to believe.
     
  4. Winman

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    I also agree that we were all dead in trespasses and sins. But this is not speaking of physical, it is speaking of a judgment, of being condemned.

    John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Reading Romans chapter 7 one can easily see this is what Paul is explaining.

    Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

    Sin caused us to be condemned to death by the law.

    Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

    You see here that Paul says we are delivered "from the law". We were dead in that we were held captive by the law, we were prisoners.

    It was the law that made Paul dead.

    Rom 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
    11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.


    To be forgiven means to be pardoned, another legal term.

    Jer 33:8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.

    Once you see death as a legal judgment, and not a physical condition, you can see that men can respond to God.

    The Philipian jailer was dead in trespasses and sins, and yet he was able to seek God. The young rich ruler sought out Jesus.

    That men can respond is shown by Peter.

    Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

    If Peter were alive today, Calvinists would call him a heretic.
     
  5. percho

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    Is one that is spiritually dead also spiritually blind? Can one who is spiritually blind have truthful discernment unless his eye of understanding is opened by someone who can do this? The key word being truthful.

    BTW Adam was alive until he ate of the tree then he became dead in trespass and sins, that is dying he would surely die.
     
    #5 percho, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2011
  6. Iconoclast

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    It is clear ,so some have to explain away the meaning,so in effect they do away with a spiritually dead sinner....to one who was just slightly wounded,just a bit sick, but not dead. In this way they do away with the truth[in their minds ,anyway....] then they proceed with their own mistaken agenda.
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

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    Does physical deadness result in being unable to hear and learn or believe?

    Steve
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    You two guys are just too much LOL....whats it say in the bible that if you use scripture, the Devil will flee you.

    Bravo to you both! :applause::thumbs:
     
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Abraham Kuyper indicated that prior to regeneration , a sinner "has all the passive properties belonging to a corpse"

    Like a spiritual corpse, he is unable to make a single move toward God, think a right thought about God, or even respond to God--unless God first brings this spiritually dead corpse to life.
     
  10. Van

    Van
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    Does physical deadness result in being unable to hear and learn or believe?

    Of course! :) The point Steve is implying is that being spiritually dead results in the inability to hear and respond affirmatively to the gospel. However, Matthew 23:13 blows that whole premise out of the water. We had someone who was spiritually dead, in the process of entering heaven. Had they been made alive by the "regeneration" of Irresistible grace? No, they we blocked from entering. Thus that interpretation of the scope of consequences of being spiritually dead is demonstrated to be false.
     
    #10 Van, Mar 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2011
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Yes dead to God but nevertheless very much alive to wickedness.
     
  12. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Huh?

    Ephesians 2:1 (New International Version)

    1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
     
  13. pinoybaptist

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    van, are you sure you're talking about Matthew 26:13 ?

    It's about the woman washing the Lord's head with ointment from an alabaster box.

    I don't see how this relates to the unregenerate.
     
  14. Tom Butler

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    A spiritually dead person may physically hear the call of the gospel and respond to it. Absent the work of the Holy Spirit, though, the response will always be no.

    One good example is Lydia (Acts 16:15), whose heart the Lord opened, so that she paid attention to the things Paul was preaching.
     
  15. TC

    TC
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    Matthew 26:13
    I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.(NIV 1984)

    Not sure how this helps. Are you thinking of some other passage?
     
  16. Van

    Van
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  17. Earth Wind and Fire

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    I don"t know Tom....aren't you dead because at that point you are sinful & evil:
    Mark 7:20-23 (New International Version)

    20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

    Jeremiah 17:9 (New International Version)

    9 The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

    Jeremiah 13:23 (New International Version)

    23 Can an Ethiopian[a] change his skin
    or a leopard its spots?
    Neither can you do good
    who are accustomed to doing evil.
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Matthew 23:13 (New International Version)

    Seven Woes on the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees

    13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

    Can you give me a little more insight into your thought process....frankly Im not following.
     
  19. Van

    Van
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    The point Steve is implying is that being spiritually dead results in the inability to hear and respond affirmatively to the gospel. However, Matthew 23:13 blows that whole premise out of the water. We had someone who was spiritually dead, in the process of entering heaven. Had they been made alive by the "regeneration" of Irresistible grace? No, they we blocked from entering. Thus that interpretation of the scope of consequences of being spiritually dead is demonstrated to be false.

    One they were entering. No one could be entering unless according to the doctrine of total spiritual inability, they had been altered by irresistible grace.

    Two, they were not allowed to enter. No one could be prevented if compelled by irresistible grace, so they had not been altered by irresistible grace.

    Three, since they were entering and had not been altered, then total spiritual inability is demonstrated false because they had the enough spiritual ability without being regenerated by irresistible grace to be actually entering heaven. It is a lock.
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    I can see that my earlier post requires some elaboration.

    Human beings operate freely within their nature. That explains the verses you quoted. They are acting according to their nature. All those things mentioned in Mark 7:20-23 are reflections of the desires of their heart. Evil people do evil things because they want to.

    Even though they are spiritually dead, and can do nothing that is pleasing to God, they cannot say they are doing evil against their will. They are willingly in rebellion against God.
     

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