And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
We are a fallen creation, a creation that is at enmity with God and with no hope of saving ourselves from the sin nature that ensnares us. It’s important to understand that the fall of mankind ushered in a profound disharmony into our world. Because of the fall we have disharmony with God, disharmony with self, with others and a disharmony that causes the misuse of creation. And as sin entered into the nature of man all of humanity was placed at enmity with God. Paul starts chapter two with a graphic reminder of this as he explains it this way, “we were dead!” Because of our sin nature we were dead in our trespasses and sins. Our sins having been exposed by the perfect Law of God, showed us that we were spiritually dead and at enmity with God. And Paul doesn’t stop there, he goes on to explain the human condition even more acutely. Paul tells us we were walking according to our lust, according to our disobedience and according to the ways of this world. A world under the influence of Satan, whom the Apostle Paul calls the “prince of the power of the air.” The phrase, “course of this world” used by Paul is indicative of being imprisoned, of being a prisoner who is under the control and led by a captor. This is indicative of being under the influence of a fallen world at enmity with God.
In other words, Paul is speaking of making this fallen world the source from which we draw our desires and motives, rather than God and His word, the Bible. And in the context of these passages it refers to being under the strict control and influence of a person or group of people. However, in this case we are imprisoned by our sin. And Satan will do what he can, when he can and in any way he can, to ensure we stay imprisoned and at enmity with God. Satan’s goal is to keep us imprisoned by fixating our attention and our hearts on the things of this world that are passing away. We have to remember Satan knows he has lost, Satan knows the end that is in store for him and where he will spend eternity. Satan’s only goal is to get as many people as he can, we who were created in the image of God, to join him in Hell. Therefore, Satan’s desire is that we, under the control of our sin-nature, choose the fulfilling of our desires and the lust of our flesh, over seeking the Lord and having a relationship with Him through Christ. Paul explains things in this manner because he has to make it perfectly clear to us, that dead people cannot bring themselves back to life, only God can. Only God can change a dead heart of stone, into a beating heart of flesh. Only God can give us a heart sensitive to the things of God, a heart that desires the word of God and a heart committed to Jesus and committed to sharing the light of the Gospel on those who are lost.