Ephesians 2:1

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bill Brown, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. Bill Brown

    Bill Brown
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    NAS Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

    A few questions. #1 Who is Paul talking about? Who is the "you"? #2 What does "nekros" (dead) mean in context? #3 How is "nekros" defined in light of "trespasses and sins"?
     
  2. reformedbeliever

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    #1 The saints. Christians
    #2 Completely dead spiritually. Have you ever seen a bite wound from a brown recluse spider bite? The bite causes a necrotic wound that turns black from the dead rotting flesh. That is a picture of our dead spirit. It is that way until the Holy Spirit quickens our dead spirit.
    #3 Again... it is defined as absolutely dead as far as our spirit is concerned. You can see this as he goes on to say that God has made us alive (quickend the dead spirit). Ephesians 2:5
     
  3. Allan

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    I agree with point #1 But #2 and #3 are...not accurate.
    Also though EVERYONE is dead in their trespasses and sins but the verse is specific to those no longer in that state.

    #2 Dead is that seperation from God who IS life and the understanding thereof and so without Him there is no spiritual life or life IN God. That being a distinct quality of life.
    The main problem with the spirit being ABSOLUTELY dead is that if it were dead there would be no bodily life. The soul does not make one alive by itself, and all people have a body and soul/spirit. Scripture also describes our spiritual condition as being IN darkness or having our understanding darkened. Scripture equates in many place the intellect with the spirit. If our spiritual understanding is darkened shouldn't this show the spirit is not literally dead, but dead to its life IN God?

    He is right is terms of "nekros" meaning rotting but not like a corpes but like that of a leper. Everything of that leper is debilitated to the natural, including sensations of all senses. So it is with our spirit. Debilitated to the point of rotting but NOT Dead in the sense of have no actual life but a life seperated FROM God.

    Take the leper issue again and see what sin and tresspass leave you with spiritually.
     
    #3 Allan, Oct 23, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2006
  4. Bill Brown

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    The passage certainly is not talking about the physical state of man. That is not Paul's point. Paul is telling his audience that their unregenerate spiritual state was death. It is oxymoronic in a sense. They were alive physically but dead spiritually. But this does not mean that there was no activity on the spiritual plain. Paul writes:

    Ephesians 2:2-3 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

    In their prior unregenerate state, they "walked" in concert with Satan ("prince of the power of the air"). They were, along with the apostles previous estate, "children of wrath." So it would be more accurate to say that their state of spiritual death was to the things of God. They were active spiritually in a state of impending judgment and wrath. In 1 Corinthians, Paul sheds some light as to why the unregenerate are dead to the things of God:

    1 Corinthians 2:14 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

    I have had people say to me that spiritually dead person of Eph. 2:1 is really not completely dead to the things of God, rather the term death exenuates the gravity of their situation. Within them remains a "divine spark" that can reach towards God. The problem I have with that view is that is not biblical. Scripture doesn't support it and a proper exegesis of the text proves it to be a false assumption. Yet we see in 1 Cor. 2:14 an amplification of the dead (natural man) mans situation. The person who is separated from Christ not only does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, he is not able to. In other words, the spiritually dead person could not give assent to God if he wanted to. The text clearly bears this out.

    In summary, the scripture teaches in plain language that unregnerate man is spiritually dead to the things of God. Scripture plainly teaches that the unregenerate (natural) man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. No where in scripture is it plainly stated or even alluded to, that dead does not mean completely dead (spiritually towards God).

    Before I continue with where I am going with this, I would be interested in hearing from those who do not agree with my exegesis.
     
    #4 Bill Brown, Oct 23, 2006
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  5. Allan

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    I agree that man OF HIMSELF is completely incapable of coming to God. We will not even seek after God because we are so blinded by our sin (not to mention in darkness) that we don't even realize we NEED a savior.

    You stated:
    True, but not to the point of accepting the things of the Spirit of God as it is He that reveals. You might have ment Word or things of God.

    Actually if it did teach in plain language what you ascribe to which I'm assuming is Calvinism, it would have been a settled truth centuries ago, and yet here we are still debating it today. We agree on the immutable truths just not necessarily the mechanics of it. However, you are right the man of himself can not understand the things of God but the whole unregenerate idea is just that, nothing ever proved substantially from scripture as both sides hold compelling arguements.
    Now where does it state the spirit that is dead is a lifeless entity which is the very nature of being dead.

    ANd what exegesis are you refering to, I don't see any you did with regard to scripture?
     
  6. Bill Brown

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    Allan wrote:
    Allan, I have a difficulty with your answer on two fronts. 1. You are introducing a "what if" that is not found in the text. 1 Cor. 2:14 says that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. The passage does not offer a remedy. We know there is a remedy, but is not explained in this passage. 2. If the Spirit of God reveals something to the spiritually dead person, how can they receive it being spiritually dead? We would be forced into one of two conclusions: A) The spiritually dead person isn't really dead, they are just in a bad way. B) God must supernaturally change their condition (from death to life) in order for them to appropriate and understand whatever it is the Spirit reveals to them.

    Allan wrote:
    I hold to the position that it was written in plain language. Paul does not talk in a mystery when he wrote, "the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 2:14), or "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), or "And you were dead in your trespasses and sin" (Ephesians 2:1). Most Baptists hold to a plain normative hermeneutic. The rules they use to hold to that hermeneutic are usually rock solid until they come across Ephesians 2 or Romans 9. I have debated some well educated Baptists and have posed these questions. I remember one honest reponse that I will never forget. "Bill, I can't concede your point because it will cause my belief in the free will of man to crumble." I was floored. Here was an honest answer, but a sad one. But I digress. Allan, I think Paul wrote plainly.

    The presence or absence of debate (on any topic) is not a position in itself. Because the diety of Christ has been a raging debate since the 1st century, are we prepared to say it is an unsettled doctrine? The same thing with the Trinity or the subsitutionary atonement. Because these bedrock doctrines of the faith are debated, are they less settled in Baptist circles? Allan, the truth be known Baptists never debated Calvinism until the mid-19th century. From the 16th century until Darby came on the scene, Baptists were generally Calvinistic. Even many of todays Arminian Baptists will admitt that.


    True. I have not cited all the Greek nor wirtten a technical paper, but I have provided my position on Eph. 2:1. That will have to suffice for now.
     
  7. webdog

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    You left off C. Spiritually dead means spiritually separated, in the same way "dead to sin" means separated to sin...not unable to sin. God does change us from spiritually dead to alive. How? Faith in Christ.
     
  8. Bill Brown

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    I didn't leave it off because I never considered it part of the equation. Paul wrote:

    The key word here is "consider." Paul wanted his audience to consider[\i] themselves dead to sin or, approach sin as if you were dead to it. It is not the same thing as Ephesians 2:1. In Ephesians 2:1 Paul is not telling the Ephesians that they were to consider their past unregenerate life as dead in sin, their past unregenerate life was being dead in sin. There is a big difference.

    Summary? Romans 6:11 is not a state of being. Eph. 2:1 is.
     
  9. dispen4ever

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    What's hard to understand about ".........and such were some of you" ??
     
  10. Humblesmith

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    Scripture bears this out. Death in the bible means separation, not annihilation. The dead are eternally cognizant, aware of their torment. After the fall, a dead Adam and Eve heard God, understood what He was saying, and responded back to Him.......they were still dead, or they wouldn't have run from God and lied to Him. Unless you equivocate on the meaning of the term, dead means separation from God, who is life itself......if we are separate from Him, we are dead, not annihilated.

    A dead person is incapable of regenerating himself......there is no 'divine spark' as was mentioned earlier. The regeneration must happen to him, and he cannot in any way assist in giving himself life. But he can be so dead that he can continue to refuse the free gift of regeneration from God........people do this every day.

    (btw, in your view, wouldn't death be a state of non-being, rather than a state of being?)
     
    #10 Humblesmith, Oct 23, 2006
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  11. Bill Brown

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    Exactly. This is Paul's point in Ephesians 2:4-7.

    Ephesians 2:4-7 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

    Even while were still unregenerate and spiritually dead, God made us alive together with Christ. The unregenerate cannot and would not respond to God's hand of mercy save God transfers the individual from death to life. There doesn't seem to be any wiggle room here for the Arminian. In order to poke holes in Paul's theology, the Arminian must first re-define what spiritual death is. If spiritual death means spiritual inability (towards God), then there is no debate on Ephesians 2:4-7. My premise is that the proper understanding of spiritual death in Ephesians 2:1 is a cornerstone to the Calvinist/Arminian debate.
     
  12. Humblesmith

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    Yes, I agree. As dead, we cannot regenerate ourselves. God must do that.

    And as dead, we are still not annihilated, and therefore we still exist so that God can regerate us. And as dead, we can continue to fight against God, or stop fighting and accept His regeneration, as He is want to do. Scripture teaches that men, in a state of death (separation from Life), will either continue to run from God or accept His new birth. But we cannot, not in any way whatsoever, contribute to our new birth. Regeneration is totally, 100% from God, with absolutely no help from the dead creature.
     
  13. Humblesmith

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    Most Calvinists hold to a plain normative hermeneutic. The rules they use to hold to that hermeneutic are usually rock solid until they come across verses like Joshua 24:22 or Deut. 30:19. I have debated some well educated Calvinists and have posed these questions. I remember several honest responses that I will never forget. "Humblesmith, I can't concede your point because it will cause my belief that there's no free will of man to crumble." I was floored. Here was an honest answer, but a sad one. But I digress.
     
  14. Bill Brown

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    I'm more happy to deal with the two passages you quoted.

    Joshua 24:19-22 19 Then Joshua said to the people, "You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins. 20 "If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you." 21 And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the LORD." 22 And Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves the LORD, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses."

    First, this is not a proof-text for free will. It is a proof-text for the Joshua warning Israel that, even though they would swear to do so, they would not be able to follow the LORD their God. Calvinists do not deny that individuals make decisions. We all make decisions. We all make choices. We all exercise our will and we do so freely. The question is, do we make our choices independent of a sovereign God? Does God simply know what we will choose or does He predestine what we will choose? I believe it is both. He knows and predestines. But as we view the world in the micro we see only our choices. That is what Joshua was facing with Israel. Joshua knew, because of Israels past failures, that they would reject following the LORD. To make this passage a proof-text for free will is disengenuous.

    Deuteronomy 30:19 19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

    The same thing as the previous passage. Moses was addressing Israel. He presented them with God's covenant of blessing (if they followed the LORD's command) and cursing (if they disobeyed). It is not a good theological passage to use to support free will. The fact that Moses commands them to choose life presents no problem for the Calvinist. Calvinists believe in making choices. We simply understand that our choices are subordinant to the sovereignty of God.

    There is nothing man can do to surprise God.
     
  15. Humblesmith

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    You and I are actually not that far apart. I agree that we don't make our choices independent of a sovereign God. So most of what you said I'd go along with.

    I just feel that there is no conflict between God's sovereignty and our free choices. I think the average Calvinist has a smallish god, one that has an "either/or" conflict between God and man. Rather, God is so sovereign that He can sovereignly work through our free choices, without coercion, even though He chose us.

    After all, the verse says flatly, "you have chosen for yourselves the LORD, to serve Him." So the plain meaning of the text is that they chose for themselves. But this does not negate the fact that God sovereignly decided, apart from and not based on their decision, and not based on foreknowledge. There is no conflict with this, since we're dealing with an infinite being. I think sometimes we try to shoehorn God into our theology, instead of letting the text speak for itself.

    There are plenty of texts that state how God is working based solely on his own will, and plenty of verses, such as the one above, that say that we can chose for ourselves. Any conflict with this is man-made. This view is historic, not disengenuous.
     
    #15 Humblesmith, Oct 24, 2006
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  16. Bill Brown

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    Smallish? Smallish?! Have you read the works of the Puritans and the early Reformers? Have you read Spurgeon? Have you read MacArthur? Have you read Piper? Have you read Sproul? True Calvinists hold God in awe. We understand that He is the only wise God. He is the creator of heaven and earth. He is the judge who each man must give account to.

    I hate to quote Darth Vader on conflict, but I will. "There is no conflict!" God, as creator, has full and final say over His creation. We are finitie creatures. We do not know the mind of God. The only conflict I know of are my sinful desires waring against the Spirit. Praise God that one day they will be brought into subjection to Christ.

    Of course God works through our free choices, because God ordained them. We use the word free in an anthropomorphic sense. I know this is an analogy, and analogies fail. It is like a horse that is corral. The horse can run anywhere on the corral he desires. But the corral has boundaries. The horse is free within the space he occupies, but cannot go beyond it. But in all actuality the master of the horse has determined where the horse can go and where it can't. The analogy breaks down because God not only has provided the boundaries, He has also determined when, where and how the horse will travel within those boundaries. Of course the horse doesn't know any better. He things (just like we do) that we choose to go here or choose to go there, not realizing that our very steps are ordered by the Lord.

    Again, man does make choices. You make them and I make them. But our choices are subordinant to the sovereign will of God. Some will say that God looks down the corridor of time and chooses for us what we would have chosen. I find that amusing because the text never supports that view. It is rationalization.

    Amen to that! That is what I am going on about. It is my contention that the Arminian/Free Will position does just that. It uses a sense of fairplay and equity to support its position. When it does use scripture it takes any verse that has the word choose, choice or free will and says, "There! Proof!" But that is no proof at all. It actually displays an ignorance of the scripture. I not accusing you of that because I do not know you well enough. That comment was made in general.

    See my earlier comments.

    Actually, prior to John Darby "this" view was considered heresy by every church council and synod that dicussed it. The synod of Dort was the most eloquent in refuting Arminiansim.
    http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/synod_of_dort.html
     
  17. Humblesmith

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    See the theologies of W. G. T Shedd and Charles Hodge, both reformed theologians (both prebyterians I think), not followers of Darby in the least. I daresay they are not heretics, but what I have said here is exactly in line with what they teach. I stand by my several statements, which have not been refuted here.

    This conversation is headed round the same old mulberry bush, so I'm done with this one.
     
  18. Bill Brown

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    I agree...time to disengage, but your statements have been refuted...in this thread and through the centuries.

    fini
     
  19. Jarthur001

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    This post is a hoot. Smallish God? Wogwash!!
    What we rather see is this claim by Calvinist....

    God can do as He pleases!!


    Man is a sinner


    This sums up the Calvinist view.
    Was said about...God could have man with free choice.

    Calvinisim says...YES...God could have done this.
    God can do as He pleases. But...the Bible tells He did not.

    Now...Can the freewiller say..."God can elect whoever He wishes??"

    The Bible says He can, but will you belittle God and say ....
    NO HE WOULD NEVER DO THIS!!..?

    Sad
     
  20. Allan

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    So then what is all the hype about. God determind before creation there would be some to believe a Calvinistic view and other Not. If God determines as you say then you are just railing against God upon whom He decree would believe as they do. Right?

    Ok. admitted - Railing is a strong word, how about arguing against?
     

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