Reviewing my condition apart from Christ before my conversion: Ephesians 2:11-22
First, Paul calls us to reflect on the days prior to our conversion. It is easy for the cares of life and things of this world to lull us to forget what we have been delivered from. In Ephesians 2, Paul mentions five things that were true of all of genuine believers before conversion. Verse11, says that I was repulsive to God and His people. Isaiah says that we were all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is but filthy rags to God. We were more than just unacceptable to God. We were actually offensive to Him. He uses the term uncircumcised to remind us that we were isolated from God’s people and viewed as pagans.
Verses 12-13, emphasizes that in our pre-conversion state, we were isolated from God Himself. One of our young men is moving to the UK for medical school at the end of the month. While he is excited about these new opportunities, he is also very nervous about living in a new place isolated from all friends, family, and securities. The first man Adam was created by God in perfect fellowship with his Creator, yet now because of sin we are all born into the world isolated from our Creator and spiritually dead. We go through life without God, until in His grace He opens our eyes to our need to be born again, and we humbly repent and place our faith in Christ and His righteousness. Paul writes that we were without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenants, without God, and far off. This is shocking to most people who think they are basically good, and that God is only a prayer away. We often think we can come to God in way we choose and at any time, but this is not true. Apart from God’s grace in conversion, we have no grounds to approach God, and have no confidence that He will hear our prayers. This isolation from God is a terrifying thought.
Verses 14-15, further explain that we were at war with God, and His enemies. Sometimes we forget that in our lost condition, we were children of wrath. The Bible says that we were at enmity with God, and that God was angry with us, the wicked every day. If you were a Jewish boy living at the time of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, I cannot imagine the terror you would have felt as you saw your enemy surround the city, cutting you off from all hope of deliverance. You knew it was just a matter of time, and you would be overcome. As an unbeliever, God is our enemy. It is true that He has extended His grace in love through Christ on the cross, but that extension of grace provided in the gospel does not in any way diminish the seriousness of His judicial wrath toward us in our unconverted state.
Verse15, says that we were under God’s wrath, and lastly, that we were without hope. Imagine you were hiking in a mountainous area when you slipped and became pinned under a large boulder in a tight crevice. You are pressing the large stone over your head with all your might, but you know without someone coming to remove the rock you will be pinned under the weight of the rock and crushed to death. You are totally helpless, what will you do in your own strength. This is our condition before conversion, totally helpless with God’s judicial wrath hanging over our heads, yet the illustration actually breaks down, because we cannot hold the load back for even a moment. It is the longsuffering nature of God that holds back His wrath while he gives us space to repent and believe the gospel. We are without hope apart from God’s grace, and we must remember the serious description that Paul gives of us as we reflect on our responsibilities in light of the Gospel. Allow this graphic description of even the Godliest saint’s pre-conversion description to strip you of every form pride. You are God’s child by grace alone and through no work of yourself. Truly, it is a gift that is totally of God.