Did you realise that, without committing any actual sins, you were condemned before God and accountable to the judgment of God? Romans 5:12-21 and other places in the Bible teach the doctrine of original sin. Article 9 of the 39 Articles explains this doctrine:
Original sin does not consist in imitating the sin of Adam, (as the Pelagians wrongly teach), but is the fault and corruption of the nature with which all descendants of Adam are born. It is due to original sin that we have departed very far from the original righteousness in which we were created, and are naturally inclined to evil, with the result that there is a constant war between flesh and the spirit. Accordingly, in every person born into this world, original sin is deserving of God’s wrath and condemnation.
Romans 5:12 describes the order of world history and how this doctrine came to be.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… (Romans 5:12)
In Ephesians 2:1-3 Paul describes the Ephesian believers’ hopeless condition before they had come to experience the power of God in Christ Jesus which had transformed their lives – this of course is true for all believers. According to the Paul they were (spiritually) “dead”, which figuratively describes the state of being lost or under the dominion of death and also denotes an inability to communicate with the living God.
This condition was due to their “transgression and sins” and therefore the recipients needed to be made “alive” (2:5) in Christ. Ephesians 2:1-10 can therefore be described as a continuation and application of the theme of the power of God’s actions in Christ. Before God had made the believers alive in Christ, the believers were influenced by the environment (“the age of this world”, 2:2), by a supernaturally powerful opponent (“the ruler of the realm of the air”, 2:2) and by an inner inclination towards evil (“in the desires of our flesh”, 2:3). Of particular interest to my series of posts is the second influence mentioned above.