The Book of Ephesians.
(Verse by verse study.)
By Pastor Nick Bibile
Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
Basically when it comes to doctrine church is divided into two schools. Either you are an Armenian or a Calvinist. You cannot say I am neither and say I just hold to the Bible. Armenians and Calvinists both agree on holding to the Bible. Your entire doctrine and evangelism depends on which school of thought you believe. Ephesians 2:1 is one of the dividing issues.
Let me ask you a question. What comes first, faith or
regeneration? How many have you heard when it comes to sin, man is morally sick
or he has a desease? Even Billy Graham believes man is sick. Many churches are
teaching that man is sick. This is Armenian doctrine. Calvinism believes in
doctrines of grace. Spurgeon said, “We
only use the term "Calvinism" for shortness. That doctrine which is
"Calvinism" did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvin himself derived it mainly from the writings of Augustine. Augustine obtained his views, without doubt, through the Holy Spirit of God, from diligent study of the writings of Paul, and Paul received them from the Holy Ghost and from Jesus Christ, the great founder of the Christian Church.”
Spurgeon also said, “The old truths that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, is the truth that I preach today, or else I would be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine.”
Armenians say due to Adam’s fall, man is spiritually sick and Calvinists say man is not spiritually sick but spiritually dead. There are some ignorant Armenians who say fallen man is neutral. The crux of this doctrine has to do with the human will. The Armenians say man still has little power to chose God as man is not spiritually dead totally, he is still alive spiritually as he is only spiritually sick.
Question is can we choose God in our fallen nature? The Armenians say yes, and Calvinists say no as man is spiritually dead, he is bound by sin, totally depraved and unable to chose God unless God regenerates man first.
Now learning church history is very important. History of the church will show us false doctrines and how it was originated and how we can be careful. Let me tell you they all used scriptures. There are lot of pastors today who have no idea of church history as a result their disciples are tossed to and fro into all kinds of doctrines. You should be able to read a Christian book and discern at once if it was written by an Armenian or a Calvinist. It takes me just a few minutes to scan a book to find out the false doctrines because I spent many hours in this subject. Now let me give you a little church history.
Pelagius was a British monk who lived in the 4th century, he rejected original/inherited sin. Adam’s sin affected only Adam, others who are born after Adam are innocent in their birth and later on when they grow up, they have a free choice to sin or not. He believed there is no need for divine grace and man has the capacity to do the will of God. The Church ex-communicated Pelagius in 417 AD Augustine defended the church against the Pelagius heresy. Augustine believed that mankind is incapable of raising itself from the spiritual death, just like an empty glass cannot fill it self with water. Grace of God is needed for salvation. Augustine tasted the misery of sin and the grace of God in his salvation. The Pelagian heresy was officially condemned at the council of Ephesus in 431, one year after Augustine’s death. (See Christian History Vol.3 page 783-870) Augustine won the fight but Pelagius won the war.
Semi-Pelagianism who believed the same views of Arminianism. They believed Adam’s fall just weakened man and he became morally sick but not fully dead. Semi-Pelagianism was condemned at the Synod of Orange in 529 A. D. However Semi-Pelagianism never died, as it revived under the banner of Arminism.
James Arminius was born in Holland in 1560. Although he was a Calvinist in his views, he was influenced by humanistic traditions. After Calvin’s death Arminius was greatly influenced by Beza, who took over the leadership of Calvin after his death, in Geneva. Arminius went back from Geneva to Amsterdam and became a famous pastor. However Arminius came to doubt Calvinistic doctrine and denied that predestination was unconditional. Then a bitter controversy sprang on this subject. After Arminius death his views were stated in the Arminian Article of Remonstrance. They made the 5 points of Arminiasm. As the controversy grew, at the request of James 1, King of England, invited the theologians from different countries to settle this issue. In November 13, 1618, 39 pastors, 18 ruling elders, 5 professors and 19 delegates were invited. It lasted for seven months and at the Synod of Dort, Arminism was unanimously rejected and condemned. The five theological points were formulated to answer the Arminian five points.
Today in our modern church the doctrines of
Arminism have gained wide acceptance. And no one wants to question them, as the
common lay people are not educated in Church history. But the theologians at
that day rejected this doctrine. That is why the great men of God that day like
Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and others were not afraid to tell the truth to
Arminian belief on the ‘free will’
As I said Arminian belief is Semi-Pelagianism view. The sad part is most Christians do not know that they are Arminians. Many Christians admit that they are sinners. But they are not taught the how salvation was initiated and the doctrine of grace. Now let us see first the Arminian view on man’s fall.
According to the above the following is the
procedure of salvation.
1. Free will to choose or reject the gospel.
3. Regeneration. (New Birth)
Well, this sounds pretty good, and many will not see as if there is anything wrong. We should wonder why Spurgeon, called the prince of preachers, preached at least twenty four sermons on election or some aspect of it, and he totally disagreed with the above Arminian perspective. The reason is that the scripture being the rule of faith does not permit to the Arminian view.
I have heard pastors saying from the pulpit that God has put a god shaped vacuum in the heart of man, and man is spiritually hungry and seeking, that is why there are so many religions as man is spiritually seeking, but only when he decided to accept Jesus that spiritual vacuum is filled and he does not thirst anymore. Doesn’t that sound so good. But no where in the scripture supports that, in fact the scripture speak just the opposite.
And you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
Remember the word ‘and’ is the continuation where we stopped before, we were studying the power of God, by the power of God the dead body of Jesus was raised to life, and last time we studied how he put all things concerning the enemies of God under his feet and Jesus Christ is the head of the church.
In the same context we see the believing Christian was spiritually dead before. The Bible does not say that his soul was spiritually neutral, sick or injured but use the word dead because of sin.
Ge 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
But Armenianism is believing the lie of the Satan when Satan told Eve:
Ge 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.
God is telling the truth and the majority of the church is deceived by the enemy, as God’s word says man is dead in trespasses (comes from Latin trans meaning beyond and pass means to pass. We have gone beyond violating the law of God) and sins. English word sin comes from the Latin sons means guilty, moral depravity, wickedness, missing the mark. Sin is the death of the soul.
When Adam chose to disobey God by eating of the forbidden fruit, his relationship to God changed drastically. He was separated from God and died spiritually (and later physically). We can see the evidence of his spiritual death by the following:
Ge 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Adam lost his righteousness of God and when sin entered he tried to cover his sins with the righteousness of man, work of man.
The fellowship of God was broken, Adam was hiding from God.
Ge 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
All mankind has sinned and spiritually dead toward God. What is the original sin?
Original sin is guilt of the whole human race on account of the fall of our first parents. Original sin is the sin that we inherit from our birth.
The Scriptures and Original Sin
Read Romans 5:12
Ro 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
Did spiritual death come only to Adam? To whom did spiritual death spread?
Psalm 51:1. "Behold I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Genesis 8:21. "The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth."
Matthew 7:16-19. "Do grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?"
Job 14:4. "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?"
Job 15:14. "What is man that he should be clean and he that is born of woman that he should be righteous?"
John 3:6. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."
Ephesians 2:3. "We were by nature the children of wrath even as others."
Psalm 58:3. "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies."
You may ask me what about verses like “whosovever will and God is love, and God’s will is for salvation for all, God does not want anyone to perish.” Let me tell you I am not running away from these scriptures I will take these scriptures in context and explain to you in our coming series.
John Calvin said, “As spiritual death is nothing else than the alienation of the soul from God, we are all born as dead men, and we live as dead men, until we are made partakers of the life of Christ.”
Unbelievers are dead as to their understandings, wills, and affections, with respect to spiritual things, and as to their capacity to do any thing that is spiritually good.
Man is unable to save himself without the power and the grace of God. The sinner is dead toward God and active toward sin. He is alive to sin and wickedness. The things of God is boring, a tradition and a work to the sinner but the pleasures of sin is exciting and delightful to the sinner as the sinner is dead to the things of God. Sinner is like a decaying spiritual corpses and stinks in God’s nostrils.
Let us see a picture of our dead state.
Read John 11:14;23;39
What was the condition of Lazarus?
Did Jesus give a commandment to Lazarus who was dead? What is it?
Read verse 43
Did the dead man hear the voice of Jesus? What happened to the dead man?
Read verse 44.
What was the contribution of Lazarus to this miracle?
What would have happened if Jesus made the decision to Lazarus, Martha or Mary?
The historical account of Lazarus in John 11 is teaching us an important spiritual truth. Lazarus was dead. He was totally and completely unable to help himself in any way. He did not ask for life nor did he “accept” an offer for life. He was made alive by the power of Christ alone. As it was with Lazarus physically, so it is with mankind spiritually. (Daniel S. McPherson II)
“If men were able in the slightest degree to try to move in God’s direction, there would be no need for God to save them. He would allow them to save themselves. But no man is able even to attempt it.” --- Martin Luther
C. H. Spurgeon stated forcefully that, "Free will has carried many souls to hell but never a soul to heaven."
The scripture say, you he made alive.
You were spiritually dead but God made you alive. You did not make yourself alive with your decision to Christ or your power of the free will but God made you alive. You did not have faith to accept Christ as you were dead. Dead men do not have faith. Made you alive is a verb, this shows the action of God not you. Salvation is of God. Our God is a powerful God, we studied the awesome power of God and it is the same power of God that made you alive when you were dead spiritually.
God gets the glory for salvation. He is the author of salvation.