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The use of Nekros in Ephesians 2:1

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by SovereignGrace, Apr 16, 2017.

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  1. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    Matthew Henry--The miserable condition of the Ephesians by nature is here in part described. Observed, 1. Unregenerate souls are dead in trespasses and sins. All those who are in their sins, are dead in sins; yea, in trespasses and sins, which may signify all sorts of sins, habitual and actual, sins of heart and of life. Sin is the death of the soul. Wherever that prevails there is a privation of all spiritual life. Sinners are dead in state, being destitute of the principles, and powers of spiritual life; and cut off from God, the fountain of life: and they are dead in law, as a condemned malefactor is said to be a dead man. A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world.

    Matthew Poole-- And you hath he quickened; his verb quickened is not in the Greek, but the defect of it may be supplied from Ephesians 1:19, thus: The greatness of his power to us-ward, and to you that were dead in trespasses and sins; the remaining part of that chapter being included in a parenthesis, which, though long, yet is not unusual. Or rather, as our translators and others do, from Ephesians 2:5 of this chapter, where we have the word quickened. It imports a restoring of spiritual life by the infusion of a vital principle, (in the work of regeneration), whereby men are enabled to walk with God in newness of life.

    Who were dead; spiritually, not naturally; i.e. destitute of a principle of spiritual life, and so of any ability for, or disposedness to, the operations and motions of such a life.

    In trespasses and sins:he preposition in is wanting in the Greek by an ellipsis, but the expression is full, Colossians 2:13; this dative case therefore is to be taken in the sense of the ablative. By these words he means either all sorts of sins, habitual and actual, less or greater; or rather, promiscuously and indifferently, the same thing several ways. expressed. Sin is the cause of spiritual death; where sin reigns, there is a privation of spiritual life.

    Albert Barnes--And you hath he quickened - The words “hath he quickened,” or “made to live,” are supplied, but not improperly, by our translators. The object of the apostle is to show the great power which God had evinced toward the people Ephesians 1:19; and to show that this was put forth in connection with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and his exaltation to the right hand of God in heaven; see the notes at Romans 6:4-11; compare Colossians 2:12-13; Colossians 3:1. The words “hath he quickened” mean, hath he made alive, or made to live; John 5:21; Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:36.
    Who were dead in trespasses and sins - On the meaning of the word “dead,” see the notes at Romans 5:12; Romans 6:2, note. It is affirmed here of those to whom Paul wrote at Ephesus, that before they were converted, they were “dead in sins.” There is not anywhere a more explicit proof of depravity than this, and no stronger language can be used. They were “dead” in relation to that to which they afterward became alive - i. e., to holiness. Of course, this does not mean that they were in all respects dead. It does not mean that they had no animal life, or that they did not breathe, and walk, and act. Nor can it mean that they had no living intellect or mental powers, which would not have been true. Nor does it settle any question as to their ability or power while in that state. It simply affirms a fact - that in relation to real spiritual life they were, in consequence of sin, like a dead man in regard to the objects which are around him.
    A corpse is insensible. It sees not, and hears not, and feels not. The sound of music, and the voice of friendship and of alarm, do not arouse it. The rose and the lily breathe forth their fragrance around it, but the corpse perceives it not. The world is busy and active around it, but it is unconscious of it all. It sees no beauty in the landscape; hears not the voice of a friend; looks not upon the glorious sun and stars; and is unaffected by the running stream and the rolling ocean. So with the sinner in regard to the spiritual and eternal world. He sees no beauty in religion; he hears not the call of God; he is unaffected by the dying love of the Saviour; and he has no interest in eternal realities. In all these he feels no more concern, and sees no more beauty, than a dead man does in the world around him. Such is, in “fact,” the condition of a sinful world. There is, indeed, life, and energy, and motion. There are vast plans and projects, and the world is intensely active. But in regard to religion, all is dead. The sinner sees no beauty there; and no human power can arouse him to act for God, anymore than human power can rouse the sleeping dead, or open the sightless eyeballs on the light of day. The same power is needed in the conversion of a sinner which is needed in raising the dead; and one and the other alike demonstrate the omnipotence of him who can do it.





    John Gill--Ephesians 2:1
    And you hath he quickened
    The design of the apostle in this and some following verses, is to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and to set forth the sad estate and condition of man by nature, and to magnify the riches of the grace of God, and represent the exceeding greatness of his power in conversion: the phrase

    hath he quickened,
    is not in the original text, but is supplied from ( Ephesians 2:5 ) , where it will be met with and explained: here those who are quickened with Christ, and by the power and grace of God, are described in their natural and unregenerate estate,

    who were dead in trespasses and sins;
    not only dead in Adam, in whom they sinned, being their federal head and representative; and in a legal sense, the sentence of condemnation and death having passed upon them; but in a moral sense, through original sin, and their own actual transgressions: which death lies in a separation from God, Father, Son, and Spirit, such are without God, and are alienated from the life of God, and they are without Christ, who is the author and giver of life, and they are sensual, not having the Spirit, who is the spirit of life; and in a deformation of the image of God, such are dead as to their understandings, wills, and affections, with respect to spiritual things, and as to their capacity to do any thing that is spiritually good; and in a loss of original righteousness; and in a privation of the sense of sin and misery; and in a servitude to sin, Satan, and the world: hence it appears, that man must be in himself unacceptable to God, infectious and hurtful to his fellow creatures, and incapable of helping himself: so it was usual with the Jews to call a wicked and ignorant man, a dead man; they say ,
    ``there is no death like that of those that transgress the words of the law, who are called, (Mytm) , "dead men", and therefore the Scripture says, "turn and live".''
    And again
    ``no man is called a living man, but he who is in the way of truth in this world.----And a wicked man who does not go in the way of truth, is called, (tm) , "a dead man".''
    And once more
    ``whoever is without wisdom, lo, he is (tmk) , "as a dead man";''
    (See Gill on 1 Timothy 5:6). The Alexandrian and Claromontane copies, and one of Stephens's, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "dead in your trespasses and sins"; and the Syriac version, "dead in your sins and in your trespasses"; and the Ethiopic version only, "dead in your sins".

    So, I think it is suffice to say that 'nekros' in Ephesians 2:1 does mean a literal corpse.
     
  2. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    And...

    Adam Clarke--And you hath he quickened - This chapter should not have been separated from the preceding, with which it is most intimately connected. As Christ fills the whole body of Christian believers with his fullness, ( Ephesians 1:23;), so had he dealt with the converted Ephesians, who before were dead in trespasses, and dead in sins. Death is often used by all writers, and in all nations, to express a state of extreme misery. The Ephesians, by trespassing and sinning, had brought themselves into a state of deplorable wretchedness, as had all the heathen nations; and having thus sinned against God, they were condemned by him, and might be considered as dead in law - incapable of performing any legal act, and always liable to the punishment of death, which they had deserved, and which was ready to be inflicted upon them.
    Trespasses, παραπτωμασι, may signify the slightest deviation from the line and rule of moral equity, as well as any flagrant offense; for these are equally transgressions, as long as the sacred line that separates between vice and virtue is passed over.
    Sins, ἁμαρτιαις, may probably mean here habitual transgression; sinning knowingly and daringly.
    (I truly respect this Brother. I can see some merit to his commentary here)

    I had to cut it from the OP, seeing I had exceeded the 10,000 characters limit.
     
  3. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    Now, I understand your stance, however, I believe it to be wrong. I know, color you shocked! :eek:

    Now, if 'dead' does not mean dead, as in a corpse, then by using that same logic, 'life' does not really mean life, seeing that the opposite of being spiritually dead is to be spiritually alive.

    Now, if we were not dead, as in a corpse, but merely separated from God, as many claim it to be; then they have opened a huge can of worms. Here's what I mean. If the only thing God did was move us from point A(separated from Him by our sins), and then move us to point B(being placed in Christ), then He has not improved our spiritual state whatsoever. He just moved us from a state of condemnation to justification without any improvement of our spirit.

    Then if we are not really dead, then we are not really alive. I see the other side of the debate attempt to redefine words. Hate does not really hate, He just loves less. By that same logic, love does not mean love, He just tolerates those He saves more than those who die in their sins. Dead does not mean corpse, but merely separation from Him. Then life does not really mean life, just in accord with Him.

    I am not willing to accept any of these notions.
     
  4. SovereignGrace

    SovereignGrace Well-Known Member
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    They're not following their thought about this to its logical conclusion. If they are not a corpse, not really spiritually dead, then they are spiritually alive(as there is no intermediate state betwixt life and death) outside of Christ. :eek:
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    What you’ve done, brother, is either take my words out of its context (ignored the “spirit” of was said, to use an illustration of this topic) or demonstrated a severe lack of understanding when it comes to interpreting Scripture. I lean towards the former with the explanation that my explanation was incomplete and therefore I bear the fault for your conclusions.

    In Ephesians 2 Paul is not talking of a “spiritual corpse” - EXCEPT as it defines the idea of spiritual death - but of living in our own lusts by the way of the world, in a state absent of the Life, not lacking animation or innate ability of its own. Spiritual death is a state of being objects of God’s wrath. No man is able to act towards salvation apart from God. This is a given. But when we apply “death” to a man spiritually, saying he is a “spiritual corpse” unable to do anything then we have severely misinterpreted God’s Word. The point is not the man’s spiritual ability (or lack thereof), it is not if the spirit itself is a corpse, but that it lacks the Life.

    So where we seem to differ is that I believe Jesus is the Life, and spiritual death is an absence of this Life (not the absence of some quality in and of the spirit itself). We probably differ on other terms as well. Jesus is the Light. I do not believe this means our spirits are in need of lanterns to see physical things around them. Jesus is the Vine. I do not believe this means Jesus is a literal vine. I believe proper hermeneutics necessitates the ability to understand these things, that one meaning does not dictate or cross over to the other.
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Brother, I think you are missing the point (and in another way hit the point with your conclusion).

    My objection to your use of "spiritual corpse" was that you transfer the imagery of physical death to the spirit to describe a corpse who cannot do anything of its own accord. You end up with the conclusion that God can do anything he wants in terms of revelation, but until He animates this spiritual corpse to believe, even God is powerless. The problem is that "spiritual death" is never described as a lack of physical life applied to the spirit. It is never described as a quality lacking to act, or to think, or to be animated. Spiritual death is the absence of the Life (an absence of Christ, an absence of God, a state of being objects of God's own wrath).

    So the idea that we are spiritual corpses awaiting spiritual life so that we can be saved is an error. Paul speaks of spiritual death as being dead in our sin and trespass, objects of wrath. Even this death points not to man but to Jesus Christ who is the Life.
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    BINGO!!!!

    "Dead" does not mean dead as in a corpse and "life" does not mean life as in the opposite of being a corpse. "Dead" means dead in our sins and trespasses, objects of God's wrath, in a state devoid of the Spirit. "Alive" therefore means "alive in Christ".

    You nailed my position square on the head here, I couldn't agree more. It's not about us but about Christ.

    It is not about moving us from one place to another, but about God giving us a new heart, a new spirit, and PUTTING HIS SPIRIT IN US. The righteousness works of a Christian are not products of the believer's empowered, transformed spirit. They are works of Christ in us (to borrow from Paul). So we can say it is not I but Christ.

    The problem with the "corpse" thing is in it's spiritual "deism" (it takes the deist position and applies it to the spirit). But Scripture teaches that we are alive because we are in Christ and Christ is in us. It is God putting His Own Spirit in us, and it is a recreation - not giving life to our spirits but giving Life to our spirits. We were dead and are now alive in the context that we were once without Life and now we have Life; we were once objects of God's wrath and now we are reconciled to God in Christ; we were once blind and now we see; we were once dead in our trespasses and sins and now we are made alive in Jesus Christ.

    I'm not sure that you can see the difference, but it is there. Either spiritual death means we are spiritual corpses in need of resuscitation or it means we are dead in our sins and trespasses in need of a supernatural act of God recreating us by putting His Spirit in us. The two are opposed ideas of "spiritual death". You have asked me to believe the former,but I truly believe Scripture affirms the latter.
     
    #7 JonC, Apr 17, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
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  8. MennoSota

    MennoSota Well-Known Member
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    Calvin says this:

    1. And you who were dead. This is an epexergasia of the former statements, that is, an exposition accompanied by an illustration. [118] To bring home more effectually to the Ephesians the general doctrine of Divine grace, he reminds them of their former condition. This application consists of two parts. "Ye were formerly lost; but now God, by his grace, has rescued you from destruction." And here we must observe, that, in laboring to give an impressive view of both of these parts, the apostle makes a break in the style by (huperbaton) a transposition. There is some perplexity in the language; but, if we attend carefully to what the apostle says about those two parts, the meaning is clear. As to the first, he says that they were dead; and states, at the same time, the cause of the death -- trespasses and sins. [119] He does not mean simply that they were in danger of death; but he declares that it was a real and present death under which they labored. As spiritual death is nothing else than the alienation of the soul from God, we are all born as dead men, and we live as dead men, until we are made partakers of the life of Christ, -- agreeably to the words of our Lord,

    "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." (John 5:25)

    The Papists, who are eager to seize every opportunity of undervaluing the grace of God, say, that while we are out of Christ, we are half dead. But we are not at liberty to set aside the declarations of our Lord and of the Apostle Paul, that, while we remain in Adam, we are entirely devoid of life; and that regeneration is a new life of the soul, by which it rises from the dead. Some kind of life, I acknowledge, does remain in us, while we are still at a distance from Christ; for unbelief does not altogether destroy the outward senses, or the will, or the other faculties of the soul. But what has this to do with the kingdom of God? What has it to do with a happy life, so long as every sentiment of the mind, and every act of the will, is death? Let this, then, be held as a fixed principle, that the union of our soul with God is the true and only life; and that out of Christ we are altogether dead, because sin, the cause of death, reigns in us.
     
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  9. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    The Bible says we were dead in our sins but now we are made alive in Christ.
     
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  10. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Agreed.

    And yes, this death dates back to Adam.

    Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    I prefer the NKJV
    Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned

    A composite:

    sin entered the world
    therefore:death passed through all
    why? all sinned

    These verbs in the text are aorist indicative - completed actual action in past time.
    When Adam sinned - sin and death were passed on to all.

    We are born dead - a paradox of sorts but true nonetheless.

    Which IMO begs the question - what spiritual status was Adam in before his sin?
    Was he spiritually alive?

    Are babies who have not yet committed actual sin in that spiritual status that he had before he actually sinned?

    Not a challenge to our status as dead in sins and trespasses but a point of "debate" and discovery of the truth.

    HankD
     
  11. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    I think we would do well to note *biblical* Characteristics of being "Spiritually Dead".

    Why we jump to an earthly analogy, when Scripture sheds plenty of light as to what "dead in trespasses and sin" actually looks like, is troublesome.
     
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  12. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    What earthly analogy Jon?
    We are after all beings both spiritual and material.

    HankD
     
  13. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    the Analogy of being "dead in our trespasses in sins" is likened to a physical corpse. It does not adequately describe the Biblical realities of being dead in our Trespasses and sins.
     
  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    The person who has just his sinful nature is cut off from either having a realtionship with God, or having a real knowledge in a saving sense of the real God!
    Physically alive, but cannot receive the Gosopel , as it is foolishness to them in their condition!
     
  15. MennoSota

    MennoSota Well-Known Member
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    Where is the analogy?

    Does Paul say "You were like being dead..."?
    Or does he say, "It was as if you were dead..."?
     
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  16. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    A corpse is still dead to God either way!
     
  17. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    This is what Paul says, "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins," Eph. 2:1

    Were they actually not breathing, lifeless, dead as a door nail bodies??? No! They were spiritually dead. Physically they were alive, spiritually they were dead to God.

    It has been several posters on here, you included, who have said we can use characteristics of a physically dead corpse to describe what Paul means here, thus applying an analogy. Paul CLEARLY says what this "Dead" means in this chapter...

    "without God, having no hope"
    "having the wrath of God abiding on us"
    "Alienated from the promises of God"
    "enemies of God"

    There are some here who have went above Scripture and have ascribed characteristics of being "dead" that Scripture does not actually speak on.
     
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  18. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    The acceptance or rejection of knowledge is truly central to the error here. Men are not saved by the knowledge they possess. An atheist may very well posses the exact knowledge as you or I about Jesus, the difference being if God uses that knowledge to draw the man to salvation. I believed Jesus the Christ long before I was saved; even the demons shutter.

    We are not made alive so we can believe, but we are transformed by Christ and given Life.
     
    #18 JonC, Apr 17, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  19. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Thanks Jon,
    I can see the point that a corpse would not have the ability to be alienated from or be an enemy of God in that he/she would not be able to communicate such with God.

    However I did give the illustration of Cain who no doubt was certainly dead in his trespass of murder.

    But that did not stop God from communicating with him after the murder.
    In fact Cain even prayed for relief from God's judgment and God granted his request.

    So we have both Cain and God communicating at a level of understanding.

    Also, I agree on the level you are addressing :
    1 Timothy 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

    Why give a law to one who is in a coffin?
    Even Talmudic Judaism says that a corpse is not required to keep the law.
    e.g.
    Leviticus 19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

    Is not required of a Jewish corpse and he/she may be buried in a garment of mixed fabric without offense even if this mitzvah be broken.

    HankD
     
    #19 HankD, Apr 17, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  20. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    See post #19.

    M, I hope by now you know that I delight in being the "devil's advocate".

    You suspected that all along didn't you :D

    HankD
     
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