And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him…
I. TO WHAT EXTENT AND TO WHAT PERSONS THIS CONDITION APPLIES.
1. The terms of the text include Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were spiritually dead notwithstanding the ordinance of circumcision; the Gentiles in their uncircumcision. The great error of Judaism as the rabbis made it was to mistake religious ordinances for religion; equally fatal is the same error in its pseudo-Christian shape.
2. It is clear that this state is not predicated of heathen and profligates only; it is the normal condition in which men are born, and in which they live and die without grace. This is clear from Colossians 1:13; Matthew 21:1; Matthew 22; John 6:53-63; 1 John 3:14.
3. Whatever privileges of pious parentage, godly training, gospel ministrations, etc., we may have been favoured, over and above these we "must be born again."
II. SOME OF THE PARTICULARS INVOLVED IN THIS CONDITION. In death is implied —
1. Deprivation — there is something lost. We do not say that a stone is dead, it never lived. Hence the view of a stone on the highway excites no emotion or sympathy; but how different with regard to a dead bird, much more a dead man or a dead friend. Once there was spiritual life in man. He was made a living soul; now he is dead in trespasses and sins, having lost it. And yet how strange that the spectacle of this most terrible of deaths scarcely moves us.
2. Corruption. Life has its degrees: vegetable, animal, rational, but in death there are no degrees; all the dead are equally corrupt. There are differences in the sight of man, comparing man with man; there are some better characters than others, of more natural virtue, and society owes them reverence; but society was not our maker and is not our judge. This reflection should humble us. "Who maketh thee to differ from another?"
3. Helplessness. "A living dog is better than a dead lion," who is as incapable as his own shadow. The dead soul is equally helpless; without foreign aid it must lie like the tree where it has fallen. Spiritual life must be communicated before the soul can move.
4. Resurrection. The decayed vegetable dies, but to be reproduced in another form. Every falling leaf that strews the earth in autumn with the silent evidences of the fall of man, seems to catch a whisper from the breeze, "Thou shalt rise again." So when man dies the principle of his existence is not destroyed but withdrawn. But, alas for the soul that has lain in the death of sin before the body has reached the grave; that shall indeed rise again, but "to shame and everlasting contempt."
(J. B. Owen, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;