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Ephesians 2:1

King James Version (KJV)
Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And you hath he quickened - The words “hath he quickened,” or “made to live,” are supplied, but not improperly, by our translators. The object of the apostle is to show the great power which God had evinced toward the people Ephesians 1:19; and to show that this was put forth in connection with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and his exaltation to the right hand of God in heaven; see the notes at Romans 6:4-11; compare Colossians 2:12-13; Colossians 3:1. The words “hath he quickened” mean, hath he made alive, or made to live; John 5:21; Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:36.

Who were dead in trespasses and sins - On the meaning of the word “dead,” see the notes at Romans 5:12; Romans 6:2, note. It is affirmed here of those to whom Paul wrote at Ephesus, that before they were converted, they were “dead in sins.” There is not anywhere a more explicit proof of depravity than this, and no stronger language can be used. They were “dead” in relation to that to which they afterward became alive - i. e., to holiness. Of course, this does not mean that they were in all respects dead. It does not mean that they had no animal life, or that they did not breathe, and walk, and act. Nor can it mean that they had no living intellect or mental powers, which would not have been true. Nor does it settle any question as to their ability or power while in that state. It simply affirms a fact - that in relation to real spiritual life they were, in consequence of sin, like a dead man in regard to the objects which are around him.

A corpse is insensible. It sees not, and hears not, and feels not. The sound of music, and the voice of friendship and of alarm, do not arouse it. The rose and the lily breathe forth their fragrance around it, but the corpse perceives it not. The world is busy and active around it, but it is unconscious of it all. It sees no beauty in the landscape; hears not the voice of a friend; looks not upon the glorious sun and stars; and is unaffected by the running stream and the rolling ocean. So with the sinner in regard to the spiritual and eternal world. He sees no beauty in religion; he hears not the call of God; he is unaffected by the dying love of the Saviour; and he has no interest in eternal realities. In all these he feels no more concern, and sees no more beauty, than a dead man does in the world around him. Such is, in “fact,” the condition of a sinful world. There is, indeed, life, and energy, and motion. There are vast plans and projects, and the world is intensely active. But in regard to religion, all is dead. The sinner sees no beauty there; and no human power can arouse him to act for God, anymore than human power can rouse the sleeping dead, or open the sightless eyeballs on the light of day. The same power is needed in the conversion of a sinner which is needed in raising the dead; and one and the other alike demonstrate the omnipotence of him who can do it.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. When we look upon a corpse, it gives an awful feeling. A never-dying spirit is now fled, and has left nothing but the ruins of a man. But if we viewed things aright, we should be far more affected by the thought of a dead soul, a lost, fallen spirit. A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world. Wicked men are slaves to Satan. Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men. From Scripture it is clear, that whether men have been most prone to sensual or to spiritual wickedness, all men, being naturally children of disobedience, are also by nature children of wrath. What reason have sinners, then, to seek earnestly for that grace which will make them, of children of wrath, children of God and heirs of glory! God's eternal love or good-will toward his creatures, is the fountain whence all his mercies flow to us; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy is rich mercy. And every converted sinner is a saved sinner; delivered from sin and wrath. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. Grace in the soul is a new life in the soul. A regenerated sinner becomes a living soul; he lives a life of holiness, being born of God: he lives, being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above this world, by Christ's grace. The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore, encourages others in after-time, to hope in his grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out. All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by his power. It was his purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and his Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. None can from Scripture abuse this doctrine, or accuse it of any tendency to evil. All who do so, are without excuse.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And you hath he quickened - This chapter should not have been separated from the preceding, with which it is most intimately connected. As Christ fills the whole body of Christian believers with his fullness, ( Ephesians 1:23;), so had he dealt with the converted Ephesians, who before were dead in trespasses, and dead in sins. Death is often used by all writers, and in all nations, to express a state of extreme misery. The Ephesians, by trespassing and sinning, had brought themselves into a state of deplorable wretchedness, as had all the heathen nations; and having thus sinned against God, they were condemned by him, and might be considered as dead in law - incapable of performing any legal act, and always liable to the punishment of death, which they had deserved, and which was ready to be inflicted upon them.

Trespasses, παραπτωμασι, may signify the slightest deviation from the line and rule of moral equity, as well as any flagrant offense; for these are equally transgressions, as long as the sacred line that separates between vice and virtue is passed over.

Sins, ἁμαρτιαις, may probably mean here habitual transgression; sinning knowingly and daringly.

Ellen G. White
Steps to Christ, 43

God's promise is, “Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. SC 43.1

The whole heart must be yielded to God, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored to His likeness. By nature we are alienated from God. The Holy Spirit describes our condition in such words as these: “Dead in trespasses and sins;” “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint;” “no soundness in it.” We are held fast in the snare of Satan, “taken captive by him at his will.” Ephesians 2:1; Isaiah 1:5, 6; 2 Timothy 2:26. God desires to heal us, to set us free. But since this requires an entire transformation, a renewing of our whole nature, we must yield ourselves wholly to Him. SC 43.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 426

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:5. 6T 426.1

Oh, how few know the time of their visitation! How few, even among those who claim to believe present truth, understand the signs of the times or what we are to experience before the end! We are today under divine forbearance; but how long will the angels of God continue to hold the winds, that they shall not blow? 6T 426.2

Notwithstanding God's inexpressible mercy toward us, how few in our churches are truly humble, devoted, God-fearing servants of Christ! How few hearts are full of gratitude and thanksgiving because they are called and honored to act a part in the work of God, being partakers with Christ of His sufferings! 6T 426.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 31

Christ, in opening to the minds of the Samaritans the word of life, sowed many seeds of truth and showed the people how they, too, could sow seeds of truth in the minds of others. How much good might be accomplished if all who know the truth would labor for sinners, for those who need so much to know and understand Bible truth and who would respond to it as readily as the Samaritans responded to the words of Christ! How little do we enter into sympathy with God on the point that should be the strongest bond of union between us and Him-compassion for depraved, guilty, suffering souls, dead in trespasses and sins! If men shared the sympathies of Christ, they would have constant sorrow of heart over the condition of many needy fields, so destitute of workers. 8T 31.1

The work in foreign fields is to be carried forward earnestly and intelligently. And the work in the home field is in no wise to be neglected. Let not the fields lying in the shadow of our doors, such as the great cities in our land, be lightly passed over and neglected. These fields are fully as important as any foreign field. 8T 31.2

God's encouraging message of mercy should be proclaimed in the cities of America. Men and women living in these cities are rapidly becoming more and still more entangled in their business relations. They are acting wildly in the erection of buildings whose towers reach high into the heavens. Their minds are filled with schemes and ambitious devisings. God is bidding every one of His ministering servants: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. 8T 31.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 143

He who gave His life to save men and women from idolatry and self-indulgence left an example to be followed by all who take up the work of presenting the gospel to others. God's servants in this age have been given most solemn truths to proclaim, and their actions and methods and plans must correspond to the importance of their message. If you are presenting the word in Christ's way, your audience will be deeply impressed with the truths you teach. The conviction will come to them that this is the word of the living God. 9T 143.1

In their efforts to reach the people, the Lord's messengers are not to follow the ways of the world. In the meetings that are held, they are not to depend on worldly singers and theatrical display to awaken an interest. How can those who have no interest in the word of God, who have never read His word with a sincere desire to understand its truths, be expected to sing with the spirit and the understanding? How can their hearts be in harmony with the words of sacred song? How can the heavenly choir join in music that is only a form? 9T 143.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 417

It is high time that the members of our churches made decided efforts to sustain the men who are giving the last message of mercy to the world. Let church members, by a manifestation of practical religion, give weight to the message of warning which is being borne to the world by God's messengers. Intelligent people are alarmed at the outlook in the world. If those who have a knowledge of the truth will practice Bible principles, showing that they have been sanctified by the truth, that they are true followers of the meek and lowly Saviour, they will exert an influence that will win souls to Christ. 6T 417.1

Anything less than active, earnest service for the Master gives the lie to our profession of faith. Only the Christianity that is revealed by earnest, practical work will make an impression upon those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Praying, humble, believing Christians, those who show by their actions that their greatest desire is to make known the saving truth which is to test all people, will gather a rich harvest of souls for the Master. 6T 417.2

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