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Ephesians 2:1,2-2:1,5 – Spiritually Dead in Sin?


You were made alive when you were dead through trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. — Ephesians 2:1,2-2:1, World English

Many read into this verse that since the penalty for sin is spiritual death, not physical death. Some claim that Adam would have died physically even if had not sinned, and that the real condemnation that was upon Adam was “spiritual death,” often interpreted to mean “separation from God.” While it is true that sin does indeed separate one from God, does this mean that we need to accept the dualistic philosophies of the heathen? It should be evident that Paul is not saying that Christians are physically dead and in sheol before being made alive in Christ, but does this automatically mean that Paul is supporting the Hellenistic dualism philosophies?

Ephesians 2:1,2 says nothing about a spiritual death, as such a teaching is adapted from hellenistic dualism. The wages of sin is not “spiritual death” — it is death. If the penalty of sin was “spiritual” death then Jesus’ sacrifice would be spiritual death, not physical death. The scriptures do not say anything about a “spiritual” death as opposed “physical” death, in the manner that such an idea is adapted from Hellenistic philosophy and mythology. This has to be added to the scriptures.

Being sentenced to death in Adam (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22), and since God calls things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17), to God the world is reckoned, or counted, as dead (Matthew 8:22; Ephesians 4:18; 5:14; 1 Corinthian 15:19; 1 John 3:14), just as the justified who were once counted as dead in their sins (1 Corinthians 15:19) are counted as alive to God. — Ephesians 2:5; Romans 3:28; 4:3-24; 6:11; Galatians 3:19; James 2:23.

We know that the penalty of sin is not “spiritual” death as opposed to “physical” death, because Jesus paid the price for our sins. (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18) What was the redemption price that he paid? Was it simply a spiritual death? Absolutely not!

Even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have you been saved) — Ephesians 2:5

This is basically a restatement of what was said concerning Ephesians 2:1,2 (see above). The Christian is reckoned alive in Christ in view of the future resurrection; the next verse speaks of the believer as having been “raised” and sitting in the heavenly places in Christ. It says this in view of the fact that God calls things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4:17) likewise, the world is reckoned dead in their sins in view of the actual condemnation of death. There is nothing here that supports the doctrine of “spiritual” death as opposed to “physical” death, or that there is a part of man that is inherently immortal.

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