Read: Ephesians 2:1-3
You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked. (v. 1)
Late autumn is a season for celebrating the dead: Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve), All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day (Day of the Dead) come October 31–November 2. Strangely, Reformation Day is also observed on the same deathly days. What does reformation have to do with death?
In Ephesians 2, the apostle Paul uses death as a sobering image for our sin. Inner deadness comes from following the ways of this world, the evil supernatural forces that are at work behind them, and gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature. We “curve in” on ourselves, says Luther, and become bound by our own selfish inclinations. What does that look like today? We indulge in shopping sprees, gorge ourselves at all-you-can-eat buffets, and waste time on mind-numbing games, entertainment, and online lust. We break community, ignore the suffering of others, and seek our own gratification.
All this reflects the spiritual deadness of humanity caused by sin. All human beings now find themselves “dead men walking.” But Paul tells Christians that they “were dead in the trespasses and sins” (v. 1, emphasis added). It’s not discouraging but liberating to finally come to terms with a chronic illness, especially if the cure is at hand. Likewise, it’s certainly good news to the person feeling dead inside to be offered new life in Christ. —Michael Andres
Prayer: Risen Lord, grant us new life in Christ.