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Barnes' New Testament Notes
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EPHESIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 1

 

Introduction to Ephesians Chapter 2

 

ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER

THIS chapter is closely connected in sense with the preceding, and should not have been separated from it. The great object is to illustrate the subject which was commenced in the previous chapter, (Eph 1:19)—the greatness of the POWER of God, evinced in the salvation of his people. The great manifestation of his power had been in raising up the Lord Jesus from the dead. That had been connected with and followed by their resurrection from the death of sin; and the one had involved the exercise of a power similar to the other. In the illustration of this main idea, the apostle observes (Eph 2:1) that God had quickened those who had been dead in trespasses and sins, and proceeds (Eph 2:2,3) to show the condition which they were before their conversion. He then observes Eph 2:4-7 that God, of his infinite mercy, when they were dead in sin, had quickened them together with Christ, and had raised them up to sit with him in heavenly places. He then states that this was not by human power, but was the work of Divine power, and that they were the workmanship of God, Eph 2:8-10. The remainder of the chapter Eph 2:11-22 is occupied with a statement of the privileges resulting from the mercy of God in calling them into his kingdom. The apostle endeavours to impress their minds strongly with a sense of the mercy and love and power of God in thus calling them to himself. He reminds them of their former condition when Gentiles, as being without God, and that they were now brought nigh by the blood of Christ, Eph 2:11-13; he states that this had been done by one great Mediator, who came to break down the wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles, and who had now made both one, Eph 2:14-18; and he compares them now to a temple raised for God, and to constitute the place of his dwelling on the earth, Eph 2:19-22. By all these considerations he endeavours to impress their minds with a sense of obligation, and to lead them to devote themselves to that God who had raised them from the dead, and had breathed into them the breath of immortal life.

Verse 1. 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 towards the people, Eph 1:19 and to show that this was put forth in connexion with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and his exaltation to the right hand of God in heaven. See Barnes "Ro 6:4, and "Ro 6:5-11. Comp. Col 2:12,13; 3:1.

The words "hath he quickened" mean, hath he made alive, or made to live, Joh 5:21; Ro 4:17; 1 Co 15:36.

 

Who were dead in trespasses and sins. On the meaning of the word dead, See Barnes "Ro 5:12"; See Barnes "Ro 6:2".

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 afterwards 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 breath 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, any more than human power can rouse the sleeping dead, or open the sightless eye-balls 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.

{a} "hath he quickened" Joh 5:24; Col 2:13 {*} "quickened" "made alive"

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