Wednesday, 20 July 2016
…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, Ephesians 2:2
This verse follows in one continued thought from verse 1 –
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 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…”
The words “in which” speak of “trespasses and sins.” Paul, writing to the Ephesians notes that they (and thus also we who follow after) “once walked according to the course of this world.” The word “course” simply means “age.” The current age of this world is one of trespasses and sins. People are conceived in sin, they are born in sin, they live in sin, and they die in sin. Without Christ, this would be the continued course of this world for all people and forever. Our walk would be a walk of death leading to death.
Paul further expands on the thought with the words, “according to the prince of the power of the air.” There can be no doubt that this is speaking of the devil; Satan. He is the ruler of this “course” or “age.” He deceived Adam and from that moment on, he has had the rule over all that has occurred here. The title given to him by Paul, “the prince of the power of the air,” is unique in the Bible and it has given scholars a great deal of debate as to what it exactly means.
However, it isn’t too difficult to determine by thinking about the way that the world has been structured. Man was created a temporal (physical) being. He was given dominion over the earth. The air surrounds the earth and it is the sphere in which we move. As angels and demons are spirit beings, they don’t move on the earth as we do. Rather, their movement can be equated to moving through the air. They rule over “the sons of disobedience” meaning fallen man, from this position.
However, God is above them, ruling from heaven. Thus, He is ultimately in control of all things, even within the sphere of “the air” where the devil exercises his power. This is evidenced in the book of Job. It is also seen in the gospels, Acts, and elsewhere. In 1 Thessalonians 4, we read these words –
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17
Christ will descend from heaven and raise the dead from the pit of the ground (the grave), demonstrating His authority over that realm. He will catch up those on the earth who are still alive, demonstrating His authority over that realm. And together, we will meet Him in the air, demonstrating His authority over that realm. It will be an “in your face” demonstration to the devil, showing that he is utterly defeated by the authority of Christ.
Paul’s words show that we were once under the power of the devil. We dwelt in his sphere of influence and we walked according to his government. And this government, though defeated in Christ, continues on at this time. It is ruled by this same “spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”
As we look at the world around us, we can see the evident truth of this. Those who are not redeemed certainly walk in the course of this world. They are under the rule of the devil and they are subject to his wicked direction. Unfortunately, far too many Christians still walk according to his rule, even though they have been freed from the power of the trespasses and sins which they once were subjugated to.
Life application: We have been freed from the devil’s power by the work of Christ, and yet how often do we allow ourselves to fall back into his sphere of wickedness! Let us consider that we have been bought with a price. We belong to a new Master, and our allegiance is to be to Him and to Him alone. Let us endeavor to live for Christ at all times.
Heavenly Father, there is a great spiritual battle going on in this world. There is the rule of the devil and his sphere of influence which permeates all people who have not been redeemed by Christ. Help us to be light to this world of darkness, leading many to the greater rule of Christ. In Him, there is freedom from sin and death. And while we are engaged in this battle, help us to not fall back into the trap of the devil and allow ourselves to be overtaken by his many temptations. Keep us on the holy path of Christ at all times. Amen.