Dead Man Walking – ephesians 2:1-3
“And you being dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you once walked…”
Paul’s characterization of himself and his audience prior to being saved by God and made a new creation is the idea of the oft-quoted phrase from the illustrative stories of Death Row: when a condemned convict is led down the corridor to execution, everything is summed-up in three words: “Dead man walking.” The simple comment reveals the character, the future, the end, the identity, the reality of the person: hopeless of anything other than death, death that they are walking toward.
Without Christ, we are: dead, sinners, trespassers/wayward/straying from righteousness and truth, walking toward death, living out our selfish desires of our flesh/bodies and minds, following and serving the enemy of God who is evil, following the ruler of the air/of nothing, by nature we are sons/children of wrath.
The idea of “sons” or “children” speaks to our nature, our character; so, Paul is saying our character and nature is of disobedience, a wilful unbelief and opposition to God.
Our identity is death. We are walking to death and nothingness, to empty, vain hopelessness, which is no more than the power of the air. What is the air? The way of life, or the coarse, or the lifestyle, of this world, is nothing but breath, air. The world and life is nothing worthy of putting our hope in. We are hopeless without Christ, without God.
So what does it mean that without Christ we are hopeless? There is nothing for us but death and wrath and our own wayward disobedient desires. So how is Paul speaking only of the past: “you once walked…we all once conducted ourselves…we were by nature…”? This is the ultimate question: if this is who I am and what I do, then how can it be changed?
How can my life of nothing, hopelessness, just living one way and then another, being blown around by the winds of life, not having real, consistent peace and joy in my life but just following whatever I desire, how can it be changed to something else? How can my life of hopelessness be replaced and transformed into a life of hope?