Influence and Persuasion- Ephesians 2:1-6

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

COMMENTARY

You who were dead in trespasses and sins; ye walked according to the course of this world,
had your conversation in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath.

Yesterday I considered how ineffective forcing people to obey you is in the long term. In this verse Paul describes those of us that have been wrapped around Satan’s finger for years, doing all manner of soul-wrenching sins due to the anxiety, fear, and addiction he smothers us with. And we might confess that we hate what we do, yet feel doomed to continue doing it all the rest of their lives.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ

And yet, for all that control Satan seems to have had over us, one day, on a whim, we will say that they have had enough and leave him for something better. God simply walks by and offers to take us somewhere new and we say “Yes, please!” And just like that the power and control and dominion of Satan is shattered.

The Need for Law- Romans 7:6, 22-24; 8:1-2, 5, 14, 16

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

COMMENTARY

But now we are delivered from the law
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death
Verses such as these have been used to suggest that all Christians are free of condemnation, regardless of their behavior, after confessing Christ as their Savior. And, in a sense, this is true. For where we were once condemned to hell for our sins, the adherence to the gospel of Christ frees us of the demands of justice, and lets us live as if there had never been any condemnation over us. Thus we have sinned, yet are liberated from the consequences of having done so. But…we do still need to adhere to the gospel of Christ.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Yes, Paul is speaking of being made free from law. He is speaking of being free from carnal, mortal law, and he is speaking of being free from divine law and its requirements for perfection. But he is not suggesting that we should surrender Christ’s law, too. The freedom that Christ offers is the freedom of subjecting ourselves to his law. We still must repent, we still must resolve to try again after every slip.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God
.
Which is the other freedom that Christ offers to us. His Spirit makes trying again appeal to our hearts. It no longer becomes a burden to us, but rather a joy. His Spirit convinces us that we are the children of God, and when one is instilled with the knowledge of that in their hearts, it becomes natural and freeing to live in virtue.