IN WHICH YOU FORMERLY WALKED
ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD: en ais pote periepatesate (2PAAI)
kata ton aiona tou kosmou toutou: (Ep 2:3; 4:22; Job 31:7;
Acts 19:35; 1Corinthians 6:11; Colossians 1:21; 3:7; 1Peter 4:3; 1John
5:19) (Psalms 17:14; Jeremiah 23:10; Luke 16:8; John 7:7; 8:23; 15:19;
Romans 12:2; 1Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 1:4; 2Timothy 4:10; James 1:7;
4:4; 1John 2:15, 16, 17; 5:4)
(in trespasses and sins) - This phrase marks the sphere or "environment" in
which the unsaved Ephesian Gentiles formerly conducted their life. In other
words, "In" is the "locative of sphere" meaning that the unregenerate
order their behavior and regulate their lives within the sphere of
trespasses and sins.
explains it this way...
All their thoughts, words, and deeds
are ensphered by sin. Not one of their acts ever gets outside this
circle of sin. That is what is meant by total depravity.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
(pote) is a generalization concerning time and means at some time
and when referring to past time as in this verse means once or at one
time in the past. This is a reminder to the Ephesians "holy ones" of
their former "unholy" state! Before their new birth, they walked in a
wrong path of conduct conforming to the world’s low standard of
morality, doing what came naturally. Their day to day life was
determined by the spirit and practice of the age in its unregenerate,
evil, anti-god state.
Paul brings up the
past again later as a means of motivating their present and future
conduct writing that...
that, in reference to your former
manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted
in accordance with the lusts of deceit and that you be renewed in the
spirit of your mind (Eph 4:22-note)
In a similar
manner, Paul reminded the saints at Colossae of the incredible change
that God's Spirit had wrought in them...
And although you were formerly
alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has
now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to
present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Col 1:21,
Writing to the
Church at Corinth Paul reminded them of their former manner of life to
emphasize the greatness of their salvation...
Or do you not know that the
unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived;
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
homosexuals nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers,
nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some
of you (this is who we all once were); but you were washed, but you
were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus
Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. (1Cor 6:9, 10, 11)
from peri = about,
around + pateo = walk, tread)
means literally to walk about here and there or to tread all around.
Peripateo then came to mean, to make one’s way, to make progress, to
make due use of one’s opportunities and finally (as used by Paul in
Ephesians), to live, to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self.
Most of the NT uses refer to the daily conduct of one's life or how one
orders their behavior or passes their life.
which Wuest explains as...
"constative, a construction which
looks at a thing or an action as a complete unit, looks at it in a
panoramic view. The whole life of the unsaved person is nothing but sin.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
In the figurative
sense, peripateo refers to one's habitual way or direction of
life, and so to their life-style. For example, in a good sense, Luke
describes Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, as
“righteous in the sight of God,
walking (peripateo) blamelessly in all the commandments and
requirements of the Lord” (Lk 1:6).
In contrast, Paul
refers in this verse to the lifestyle of unbelievers and later in this
same letter counseled the Ephesian believers to
“walk no longer just as the
Gentiles (in context a description of all the unsaved) also walk,
in the futility of their mind” (see note
“if we walk (peripateo) in the
light as [God] Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one
another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn
In Colossians 3
uses peripateo in a similar context to his use here in Ephesians
2:2, describing how the Colossians saints walked before Christ
transformed their heart and mind...
"In (the sphere of immorality, etc,
all things that on account of the wrath of God will come - Col 3:5,
you also once walked (peripateo), when you were living in them."
In other words
before the Ephesian saints were saved, they ordered their behavior and
regulated their lives within the sphere of trespasses and sins. Not a
ray of light from God, nothing of God's righteousness or goodness, and
not a single good thing in the sight of God penetrated that circle
(sphere) of "conduct". All their previous thoughts, words, and
deeds were ensphered in an atmosphere of sin. Not one of their acts ever
got outside the circle of sin -- their previous manner of walking is a
description of what is often termed total depravity.
(kata) is a preposition which used in the NT in a variety of ways
but in this verse kata means "down" which speaks of domination
and control. Paul's point is that unregenerate men in the act of
ordering their behavior in the sphere of trespasses and sins are
dominated or controlled by the "course of this world". They are
continually in the state of being "under" the dominion or power of the
world system and the evil prince, Satan.
is not an easy word to define but in
general aion usually refers to some aspect of time past,
present or future. As used in this verse, aion conveys a
figurative meaning referring primarily to the ethical/moral system of
the world. In other words in this use aion refers to the system of
practices and standards associated with secular society (that is,
without reference to any demands or requirements of God). Note that aion
is also sometimes translated "world" with somewhat of a similar meaning
to the following word "kosmos". For example Paul exhorts believers to
"conformed to this world (aion),
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what
the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (see
This present evil
world system is continually seeking to squeeze men into its mold of
godlessness. The unsaved either consciously or unconsciously are
controlled by the values and attitudes of this world system and behave
that aion can be defined as...
“All that floating mass of thoughts,
opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at
any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and
accurately define, but which constitutes a most real and effective
power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of
our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale,—all this is included in
the aion, which is, as Bengel has expressed it, ‘the subtle
informing spirit of the kosmos, or world of men who are living alienated
and apart from God’ ” (Trench,
R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament. Hendrickson Publishers. 2000)
commenting on aion adds that...
The Germans have a word for it,
zeitgeist, “the spirit of the age.” “World” is in the head, his demons
are his emissaries, and all the unsaved kosmos, which here refers
to the system of evil of which Satan are his slaves, together with the
purposes, pursuits, pleasures, and places where God is not wanted. To
distinguish the words, one could say that kosmos gives the
over-all picture of mankind alienated from God during all history, and
aion represents any distinct age or period of human history as marked
out from another by particular characteristics.
[word study]) basically means
something well arranged or orderly (English word = "cosmetics"!).
Kosmos is used 186 times in the Greek New Testament, and virtually every
instance has an evil connotation.
Kosmos does not represent the
physical creation in this verse but refers to the world in a moral or ethical sense,
specifically the world's values and ways of doing things. The idea is
captured by the phrase we often hear -- "the spirit of this age". It is the
"order" of this evil world system, which is ruled by Satan and his
minions (1Jn 5:19, Jn 12:31) which is alienated and hostile toward
God and God’s people. In this use kosmos represents the
self-centered, godless value system and mores of fallen mankind. The
goal of this present kosmos is self-glory, self-fulfillment,
self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, and every other form of
self-serving. This world-system is imposing and powerful with armies and
fleets and is often outwardly religious, scientific, cultured, and
elegant; but, deep beneath seethes with national and commercial
rivalries and ambitions. Kosmos is the present world, the present
order of things, as opposed to the kingdom of Christ; and hence, always
is associated with the ideas of transience, worthlessness, and evil both
physical and moral and is the seat of aberrant cares, wicked temptations
and irregular desires.
The world, this present evil
age alienated from the life of God, was
the environment they formerly moved about freely, feeling perfectly at
home in and conducting themselves in complete harmony with.
ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE
POWER OF THE AIR: kata ton archonta tes exousias tou aeros: (Eph
6:12; John 8:44; 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9;
13:8,14; 20:2) (Job 1:7,16,19; Revelation 16:17)
- This phrase is the preposition kata the root meaning of which is “down,”
which suggests domination. Those dead in their trespasses and sins
are "down" and dominated by the evil prince, Satan. During the
present evil age (Gal 1:4) he and his demonic hordes dominate, pressure, and control every
person who is unsaved.
S Lewis Johnson
has an interesting perspective of what it means to walk according to the
prince of the power of the air writing that...
the things that dominate Satan are
the things that dominate us. A characteristic of Satanic activity is
opposition to the word of God. We often blame Satan for things that are
really, simply, the lusts of the flesh. I don’t deny that Satan may use
the lusts of the flesh. But really Satan is more interested in the
counterfeit of the truth. And so he’s not so interested in the fleshly
lust types of things as he is in infecting the mind with false doctrine.
Satanic things are the things that primarily have to do with the denial
of the truth of God, the counterfeit of the truth of God. (Ephesians 2:1-10 His Power and
Our Salvation - Audio)
Paul is saying
that everyone born is born enslaved to...
SIN AND SATAN
were the "prince's" possession, but were set free by the gospel
of grace and are now his opponents. And so Paul exhorts the Gentile
Command to do this now! Don't delay!) the full armor of God, that
you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our
struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against
the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the
spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (see notes
(archon from archo = to rule) refers to the first in rank
or power. It is the first in an order of persons or things and thus
conveys the idea of ruler, chief or prince. In the present context
archon refers to Satan as the first one in power and authority in
this kingdom. He is the chief fallen angel who rules over a vast
multitude of other fallen angels who oppose God and His people. (See
brief related discussion on
Satan) (See related
word study on
We know that we are of God, and the
whole (complete in extent) world (kosmos) lies in the power of the evil
one. (1John 5:19)
Similarly on the
night in which he was betrayed Jesus addressed the Jewish chief
priests and officers...
While I was with you daily in the
temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of
darkness are yours. (Luke 22:53)
Comment: In this
verse "the power of darkness" is not a reference to the darkness of the
night in which Jesus was arrested, by to Satan and the dark powers he
In other allusions
to Satan as ruler of the world Jesus declared...
Now judgment is upon this world; now
the ruler (archon) of this world (kosmos) shall be cast
This verse at first glance seems somewhat confusing for Jesus says "now"
which might suggest Satan no longer holds power which we know is not
true from other passages. The "now" refers to the assurance of
ultimate victory over Satan that was to be won by Christ on the Cross -
Col 2:14, 15-see
"I will not speak much more with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John
Comment: Jesus is saying here
that Satan possesses nothing in the Person of Christ and has no power
over Him whatsoever which of course is another evidence of Christ's
(the Holy Spirit) when He comes,
will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and
judgment...concerning judgment, because the ruler (archon) of
this world (kosmos) has been judged. (John
Jesus was referring to His judgment of Satan that was effected by His
death on the cross (cf John 12:31). Satan is the prince of this
world, but he is a defeated prince! Satan has already been judged
and the verdict announced. All that must take place is the executing of
the sentence, and that will occur when Jesus returns.
Paul referred to
Satan when he explained to the church at Corinth that...
the god of this world (aion =
better translated "age " - Satan rules for a short time in this
present evil age but in the age to come, the
Jesus will be the King of kings) has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the
glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2Cor 4:4) .
The "god of this world" is not saying Satan is god in the sense
of God, but that he is a false god who wields enormous influence for
evil in this present world. He controls the ideologies, opinions, hopes,
aims, goals, and viewpoints current in the world -- cf. 2Cor. 10:3,
4, 5 (notes;).
Satan is behind the world’s systems of philosophy, psychology,
education, sociology, ethics, and economics, but one of his greatest
spheres of influence is in the realm of false religion. He is called a
god in the sense that his deluded followers serve him as if he
were one. Satan is the original model for all the false gods in all the
false religions he has spawned. As a corollary, believers should pray
that the Spirit would take the gospel and "open [unbeliever's] eyes so
that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan
to God" Acts 26:18.
under the dominion of and are ruled by their "father, the Devil" (see
John 8:44) the chief ruler of all the evil spirits, whose realm is the
atmosphere surrounding planet earth (see "air" below)
All of us before
Christ were willingly obedient to the god of this age. During the
present age Satan and his demon hosts dominate, pressure, and control
every person who is unsaved.
means "the right and the
might". It describes the authority a person has delegated to him from
someone else. The person delegating authority is in a sense "out of
himself" and acting in the person to whom he has delegated the
authority. Exousia conveys the idea of "delegated authority" with
the authority and the right to exercise that authority.
Vincent adds that
"Authority or right is the dominant
meaning in the New Testament." (Word studies in the New Testament. Vol.
1, Page 3-171)
means the power to do something and was a technical term used in
the law courts, of a legal right.
explains that exousía evolved
"from the meaning of "leave or
permission" or "liberty of doing as one pleases" and passed to that of
"the ability or strength with which one is endued," then to that of the
"power of authority," the right to exercise power or "the power of rule
or government," the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed
by others." (Vine,
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament
Words. 1996. Nelson)
(aer) refers to the atmosphere immediately above the
earth’s surface or the celestial air surrounding the earth. The kingdom
of Satan is in this lower atmosphere where we humans live, in order that
this sinister creation who is filled with a bitter hatred of God and
mankind, might with his hordes of evil demons, prey upon humanity. Satan
is the leader of the demons of the lower atmosphere. All unsaved men and
women order their behavior according to Satan's dictates and those of
his demons! (They would of course deny this is true but they are lost
Keeping in mind
that the air or the lower atmosphere is the main location of
Satan's rule, it is notable that this is also the location where the
final bowl of God's wrath is poured out in the 7th bowl judgment! (read
Revelation 16:17) In addition, one day soon, the Lord Jesus Christ will
return and penetrate the air and deliver His body, the church,
from this present evil age (cf rapture 1Thes 4:13ff).
Paul used the term
"third heaven" in 2 Cor 12:2 which refers to the abode of God. The
"first heaven" is the atmosphere (referred to as "air" in Eph 2:2), and
the second heaven is outer space. (See note on the
Wuest has a
note on "air" adding that...
The Greeks had two words which meant
“air,” aer and aither. Aer was used to designate
the lower air, the thick air or haze that surrounds the earth. Aither
was the name given the pure, upper air as opposed to the thick lower
air. The pure upper air started at the mountain tops for the Greeks of
the ancient world, since they had no way of exploring the regions above
these. The word aer referring to the lower atmosphere, namely,
that below the mountain tops, is used in the NT. Aither is not
used, although it must have been in common use in the first century.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
S Lewis Johnson has a humorous
story relating to the "prince of the power of the air"....
Many years ago, there was a very
modern, liberal preacher by the name of S. Parks Cathman. He was a
person who was known far and wide, very much like Harry Emerson Fosdick.
He had a radio broadcast, very well-known man, very influential man. He
was introducing a man over the radio one day, and an evangelical heard
him. He introduced this man as being a mighty Christian minister, and he
built him up by talking about his education and his background and his
accomplishments, and then in one final rhetorical flourish he said, “And
now we present to you the prince of the power of the air.” He
didn’t realize, of course, that he was introducing him in a term that is
used in Scripture as a term for Satan. Fortunately, an evangelical heard
it and that’s story has been told by evangelicals around the country for
about 50 years now. (Ephesians
2:1-10 His Power and Our Salvation - Audio)
OF THE SPIRIT THAT IS NOW
WORKING IN THE SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE: tou pneumatos tou nun energountos (PAPNSG)
en tois huois tes apeitheias:
(Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26; 22:2,3,31; Jn
13:2,27; Acts 5:3; 2Corinthians 4:4; 1John 3:8; 4:4) (Eph 2:3; 5:6;
Isaiah 30:1; 57:4; Hosea 10:9; Matthew 11:19; 13:38; Colossians 3:6;
1Peter 1:14; 2Peter 2:14; 1John 3:10)
(pneuma from pnéo = to breathe, to blow, referring
to the movement of air) is literally breathing or breath but in this
verse refers to an evil, independent non-corporeal (nonmaterial) being.
In context this would refer to Satan and/or his demonic underlings.
(nun) is an adverb of time and speaks of the present time,
focusing on the moment. There is a day coming when Satan will be bound
for 1000 years (Rev 20:2) and they will no longer be actively plying
their evil trade on mankind.
from en = in + érgon = work) (Click
energeia) means to be effective in
causing something to happen. It means to to bring something about
through use of capability. It means to act, to be operative or to be at
work. Energeo is in the
which pictures the
continual "energetic, energizing" activity of the fallen spirits in this
present evil age seeking to make what is bad even worse.
Satan never rests
as we learn in Job...
And the LORD said to Satan, "From
where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming
about on the earth and walking around on it." (Job 1:7)
And in Peter
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.
aorist tense, imperative) Your adversary, the devil, prowls (present
continually) about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8)
(huios) refers to male offspring. Unregenerate men and women are
all descendents or offspring of disobedience.
Wuest explains it
this way noting that "sons of"...
is a Hebrew idiom in which one calls
a person having a peculiar quality, or subject to a peculiar evil, a
son of that quality. The unsaved are called sons of disobedience in
the sense that they have the character of being disobedient.
a = without + peítho =
persuade) is a
noun signifying literally one who refuses to believe or to be persuaded.
It reflects an attitude of willful, perverse disbelief and is manifest
as an unwillingness or refusal to comply with the demands of some
authority. For example, in his "sermon" that brought about his
martyrdom, Stephen called the Jews that were listening to him...
stiff-necked and uncircumcised in
heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit..." (Acts 7:51)
The picture is of
a person who because of unbelief cannot be persuaded and remains
obstinate and non-compliant.
This phrase sons
of disobedience is used again by Paul in this same letter in his
command to ...
Let no one deceive
imperative - with
the negative ["let no one"] could mean this deception was already
transpiring among the believers. Note that it is a command to
continually guard against the fallen world's subtle, deceptive
rationalization for justifying their flagrant rebellion against the Holy
God! This world is being slowly but irrevocably being corrupted [like
rust on metal on an ocean front house which is continually being
bombarded with salt water breezes - beware of these corrupting "winds of
doctrine" Ep 4:14-note]
by the lusts of deceit - see 2Pe 1:4-note) you
with empty words (these words may "sound" convincing at first hearing,
but they have a "hollow" ring when filtered through the "grid" of a
Biblical mindset), for because of these things (Ep 5:5-note) the wrath of God comes
(verb actually pictures God's Holy, Awesome wrath as on its way! Woe!)
upon the sons of disobedience. (Eph 5:6-note)
Comment: Go back up to Ep 5:5
and see what the deception entails - They were pouring out venomous
statements like... "If you are saved, it doesn't make any difference how
you live. Once you believe, if you sin openly and wantonly the rest of
your life, you can be assured you have a 'fire insurance' policy." This
is a lie from the pit of hell (figuratively and literally speaking!) and
tragically is one which is infiltrating some evangelical teaching!
Caveat emptor! (See Jesus' fearful, loving warning [true love warns and
is not just "warm and fuzzy"] - Mt 7:21-note,
Mt 7:22, 23-note)
To be sure, faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not
alone! Faith not works saves, but the faith that truly saves, works. See
Jas 2:14-16 -
><> ><> ><>
Ray Pritchard writes that...
the whole gospel message (can
be seen) in just six words. If you know what these words are and what
they mean, you will know the gospel. And you can share it with anyone
The six words come in three sets of
two words each—the first from Eph 2:1, the second from Eph 2:4, and the
third from Eph 2:8.
You were—Eph 2:1
But God—Eph 2:4
Through faith—Eph 2:8
The first two words describe our true
condition apart from God’s grace. The words "you were" describe not only
what we used to be, they also describe the current condition of everyone
in the world who is not saved. That condition, as we will see in a few
moments, is truly hopeless.
The second two words tell us how
grace works. The phrase "but God" announces the world’s greatest rescue
mission when the Creator took on human flesh in the Person of Jesus
Christ to perform the work of salvation.
The final two words explain how we
come into contact with God’s grace. It is "through faith" and only
through faith. It is not faith plus works or faith plus anything else.
It is faith alone that brings the blessings of grace to us.
Rightly understood, the whole
gospel is in those six words:
You were…But God…Through faith.
God made it simple so that anyone could
understand it and so all of us could share it with someone else. (Amazing
><> ><> ><>
A devotional from
Our Daily Bread entitled "Autistic Listeners"
Hear now this . . . [ye] . . . who
have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the Lord. Jeremiah 5:21,
Recently the London Times stated that there are about 4,000 autistic
children in Britain. These unfortunate youngsters usually do not react
to messages received and transmitted from the eyes and ears to the
brain. Consequently, they live in a world where words have little or no
meaning. This is a terrible physical affliction, but my mind immediately
was drawn to the oft-repeated words of our Lord concerning the listeners
in His day who were thus spiritually afflicted. Of them He said,
"Hearing, they hear not, neither do
they understand" (Matt. 13:13).
The reason for such "autistic"
listeners is clear. Unconverted men are spiritually "dead in trespasses
and sins" (Ep 2:1-note).
Only as the Holy Spirit enlightens them and gives them life in Christ
can they "hear his voice" and follow Him.
A certain ungodly tavern keeper who was very fond of music decided to
attend one of John Wesley's Methodist gatherings in order to hear the
singing. He had resolved, however, not to listen to the sermon, and
therefore sat with his head down and his fingers in his ears. But when
God wants to speak to a soul, He can make His voice heard even if He
uses means that may seem strange to us. As the man stubbornly refused to
listen, a fly lit upon his nose. For a moment he moved his hand to drive
it away, and in so doing, nine words of the sermon were brought to his
"He that hath ears to hear, let him
From that moment the man had no rest
in his soul. He came to the next meeting, listened eagerly to the
Gospel, and was saved. Have you heard the Savior's voice? "Hear, and
your soul shall live!" (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
I hear Thy welcome voice,
That calls me, Lord, to Thee,
For cleansing in Thy precious blood
That flowed on Calvary. — Hartsough
There is no one so deaf as the person who refuses to hear!
><> ><> ><>
A devotional from
Our Daily Bread entitled "The Peace Initiative"
It was the night before Christmas in
1870. French and German armies faced each other on the field of battle
in the Franco-Prussian War. A French soldier started walking toward the
German lines. His comrades watched breathlessly, expecting to hear at
any instant the crack of a rifle that would end his life. As he neared
the enemy lines, he stopped and began singing
"Noel, noel! Noel, noel! Born is the
King of Israel!"
No shot rang out.
Slowly the Frenchman returned to his ranks. There was silence! Then from
the German side came a lone soldier to the same spot and sang the German
version of the same song. After each stanza both armies united in the
chorus. For a few minutes Christ brought peace to that battlefield.
God is a peacemaker who always takes the first step. Jesus came as a
baby, and when He grew to manhood He preached peace to a warring world.
Then, in the greatest peace initiative this world has ever seen, Christ
made peace between God and man by dying for our sins (Col 1:20-note).
Peacemaking efforts may be rejected, but the alternative is continued
hostility. God didn't settle for that, nor should we. Let's take the
first step in healing a broken relationship, even at the risk of being
"shot down."-- Dennis J. De Haan (Ibid)
O Prince of Peace, keep us, we pray,
From strife and enmity;
Help us to speak with loving words
That quell hostility.-- J. David Branon
What this world needs is the peace that passes all misunderstanding.