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A meditation on Ephesians 2:1-5


Jesus said that he came to save the 'lost' [Luke 19:10], and used stories about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son to portray our lost condition [Luke 15].

What does it mean that human beings are 'lost'? In Ephesians 2:1-5 we find several descriptions of this condition of lostness from which Jesus Christ saves us.

We are 'dead in your transgressions and sins' [verse 1,5]. To be 'dead' is to be severed from life, to have lost life, in this case, to have lost or to be severed from spiritual life. The core significance of this is separation from God, the loss of that connection with God for which we were created. Isaiah 59:2 describes this lost relationship: 'your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.'

We 'followed the ways of this world' [verse 2]. According to the Bible 'the world' does not know God [John 17:25; 1 John 3:1], is 'dark' [Ephesians 5:8; 6:14], has been led astray by Satan [Revelation 12:9] and is under his control [1 John 5:19]. Paul teaches that in following the ways of the world we actually followed the ways of Satan [Ephesians 2:2]. Thus our lostness consists not only in our being cut off from our Creator, the source of life, but also in being under the control of his enemy and living in a way that promotes the agenda and goals of that enemy.

We, following the agenda of Satan, gratified ' the cravings of our sinful nature … following its desires and thoughts' [Ephesians 2:3]. God had created us to image himself, to reflect the perfection and the glory of his being [Genesis 1:27]. Our lostness, with its self-exaltation, self-focus and extreme self-awareness,  includes severance from this God-exalting, God-focused and God-conscious identity and purpose.

Instead of the lost life of glory and unimpeded union with God 'we were by nature objects of wrath' [Ephesians 2:3; 5:6]. Instead of God's affirmation there is his condemnation [John 3:18, 36; Romans 1:18; 5:16] from which there is no human way of escape or acquittal [Romans 3:19-20].

It is this terrible and complete lostness that made a saving action from God's side necessary.

Without an accurate understanding and acknowledgement of this deep lostness we will never really understand and appreciate the amazing grace of God that Paul teaches in Ephesians. The extent of our lostness, including its enmity against God, highlights the sheer undeservedness of what he did for us in and through Jesus Christ.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011