The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 77 of 138
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Eph. 2: 1 speaks of our state in grace, and not our state by nature; the actual wording of
the verse is as follows:--
Kai humas ontas nekrons tois paraptõmasi kai tais hamartiais,
and the literal rendering is, "and you being dead (ones) to the trespasses and to the sins".
It will be noticed that there is no word "in" in either the Greek or the literal rendering,
this being a rendering of the dative case, in which the words "trespasses and sins" are
written. Let us refer to other passages which are somewhat parallel.
Rom. 6: 2.
"We that are dead to sin" (te hamartia)*
Rom. 6: 10.
"He died unto sin" (te hamarita)*
Rom. 6: 11.
"Dead indeed unto sin" (te hamartia)*
Rom. 7: 4.
"Dead to the law" (nomõ)*
Gal. 2: 19.
"Dead to law" (nomõ)*
I Pet. 2: 24.
"Dead to sins" (tais hamartiais)**
[* - Dative singular.
** - Dative plural.]
The last passage, I Pet. 2: 24, is identical with one part of Eph. 2: 1. Now the
question that demands an immediate answer is, Can we substitute the words, "in sins", or
"in law", where the above-quoted passage reads, "to sins", or "to law"? Let us try.
"How shall we, that are dead in sin, live any longer therein"? If this be the correct
translation the answer must be, Those who are dead in sin can do nothing else. We dare
not pen the words in the place of the rendering of Rom. 6: 10, for the thought is
blasphemous that Christ should ever have died in sin. And shall we say that believers are
to reckon themselves dead in sin, but alive unto God? The very utterance refutes itself.
There is no need for us to go further, the true rendering of Eph. 2: 1 must be, "And you
being dead ones to trespasses and to sins", indicating the same blessed state of union with
Christ as is indicated in connection with sin (not sin as here) in Rom. 6:, and in
connection with sins, in I Pet. 2: There is one passage which we have not yet referred to
which is very parallel with Eph. 2: 1, viz., Col. 2: 13, "And you being dead in your sins
and the uncircumcision of your flesh" (the word "in" is omitted by the best texts, and by
the Numeric New Testament). To make verse 13 refer to our state by nature, breaks the
inspired line of teaching; in verse 11 the statement is made, "ye are circumcised", which
is interpreted as the "putting off of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ",
so that we can say, Here is union with Christ as to circumcision. Verse 12 continues by
saying that we were "buried with Him in the baptism", and are "risen with Him through
the faith of the inworking of that God who raised Him from the dead". Here again is
union, this time in burial and resurrection; note also the close parallel of one passage with
Eph. 1: 19, 20, "His power to usward who believe according to the inworking of His
mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead".
Keeping to our new translation, Col. 2: 13 makes no sudden digression, but continues
the line of teaching, "and you being dead ones to trespasses, and the uncircumcision of
your flesh, He made alive together with Him".  We must not leave  Eph. 2: 5
unconsidered, lest some should think it taught something contrary to our suggested
translation. Ta kai ontas hemas nekrous tois paraptomasi, "and we being dead ones to
trespasses". To be made alive together with Christ follows being dead to trespasses and