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F.F. Bruce on Ephesians 2:3

April 28, 2009

Bruce:

V. 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind,

–Paul is writing to Christians of Gentile birth, but when he reminds them that they once lived in accordance with the standards accepted by the ‘sons of disobedience’, he makes haste to say that this was equally true of Christians of Jewish birth, not excluding himself. The ‘desires of the flesh’ may take many different forms, and Paul elsewhere lists the things in which he formerly took such patriotic and religious pride as samples of his ‘confidence in the flesh’ (Phil. 3. 4-6). For the ‘flesh’, the unregenerate nature of man, can manifest itself in respectable forms as well as in the disreputable pursuits of first-century paganism. For ‘the mind’ we might substitute ‘our minds’ or ‘our thoughts’, in order to indicate that the Greek word (dianoia) is plural here; these are minds, of course, which have not yet been renewed so as to approve the will of God (Rom. 12. 2).

and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:

–We who were Jews by birth and upbringing, he says, were as much under the wrath of God as those who were born and reared as pagans. These few words sum up the argument of Rom. I. 18-2. 29, where Gentile and Jew alike are shown to have incurred the revelation of God’s wrath from heaven.

F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Ephesians: A Verse by Verse Exposition (New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1970), 48-49.

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