Ephesians 2:2 is like looking at a photograph of what you were like before Jesus Christ came into your life. It says, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." The King James Version says, "Wherein in time past." But the Greek could be better translated, "Back then."
Paul was reminding his readers of what they were like before the grace of God touched their hearts. With this one statement, he reached into his pocketbook, pulled out a stack of old photographs, and began flipping through them, searching for one old photo that would remind them of their past. When Paul wrote Ephesians 2:2, it was like he held that old photo up in the air and said, "Hey, look at this! Do you remember what you looked like back then?"
Then Paul reminds his readers, "Back then you walked according to the course of this world." The word "walked" is the Greek word peripateo, a compound of the words peri and pateo. The word peri means around and the word pateo means to walk. When these are joined together, it means to walk around habitually in one general area all the time. The Greek grammar implies that it is a path from which these people cannot deviate. You might say they are trapped on this path - bound to walk it again and again. They are locked in this one general sphere and can't find their way out by themselves.
The verse goes on to say, "Back then you walked according to." That phrase "according to" is from the Greek word kata, which portrays something that is forceful or dominating. By using this little word, Paul reminds us that before we met the Lord, we "habitually walked around under the dominating influence of this world, unable to alter the path we were taking." Although unaware of our condition, we were spiritual prisoners that were dominated and manipulated by the influence of a lost society.
But Paul goes on to say, "Back then you walked according to the course of this world." The word "course" is from the Greek word aiona, a word that describes a specific, allotted period of time, such as an age, a specific era, or a generation. It often denotes the influence of a particular generation or a period of time, like a decade, a century, or even a millennium.
The word aiona also denotes the spirit of a period; for instance, the 1920s were typified as "the Roaring Twenties." The spirit of the 1960s and 1970s was typified as a "rebellious" period because of drug use and the strong reaction against the Vietnam War. Many times in Greek literature, this word aiona carries this same meaning of the spirit of the age.
Then Paul adds the next word: "Back then you walked according to the course of this world." This word "world" in Greek is kosmos, a word that depicts something that is fashioned or ordered. In this verse, it denotes systems and institutions in society, such as fashion, education, or entertainment. Because Paul uses the word kosmos, he paints a picture of people who have no standard like God's Word by which to live; therefore, they are guided by the constantly changing ethics and whims of the times. Sadly, education, entertainment, and fashion are the forces that guide the lost world.
You could rephrase Ephesians 2:2 this way:
"Don't you remember what you used to be like? Why, back then you habitually walked around trapped and unable to get off the track you were stuck on - totally unaware that you were being dominated and manipulated by the constantly fluctuating thinking of the day, by the whims of the times, and by whatever society was giving its approval to at that moment."That is who you were, but that is not who you are today! Now you are a child of God who has been redeemed, sanctified, and indwelt by the Spirit of God. But think for a moment of all the people you know who still don't know Jesus Christ. That means they still fit into this category! They are still trapped, unable to get off the treadmill they are stuck on!
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The Bible makes it unmistakably plain that in the last days, the world will be filled with difficulties, the like of which have never before been known in the history of mankind. In fact, the Holy Spirit was so committed to making sure we understand what will occur in the last days that in 2 Timothy 3:1, it is as if He points His prophetic finger 2,000 years into the future and specifically foretells what will occur at the end of the age.
When it was time for Jesus' body to be brought down from the Cross, Pilate received a surprise visit from a high-ranking member of the Sanhedrin who was a secret follower of Jesus. His name was Joseph, from the city of Arimathea; thus, we know this man as Joseph of Arimathea. He was accompanied by another high-ranking member of the Sanhedrin who was also a secret disciple of Jesus. This second man's relationship with Jesus began with a secret visit in the middle of the night, recorded in John 3:1-21. That second admirer was Nicodemus.
No one has all the answers! The smartest leaders in the world are those who realize both their gifts
and their limitations. A leader is being wise when he recognizes his need for gifted, talented, willingminded people to chip in and help him effectively do what he is called to do. No one can do it all alone.
I know of no great Christian leader who hasn't faced some kind of opposition as he or she sought to do God's will. But the truth is that darkness does not have the power to overcome light! Every believer can overcome any attack if he or she won't quit first!
I told my sons, "This pyramid has stood here for thousands of years, but a day is coming in the future when it will be completely dissolved. When the final Day of the Lord comes, the Bible tells us that everything that exists on the earth will melt with fervent heat, and the earth and all its works will be burned up. Boys, that means a day is coming when none of these monuments will exist any longer. Everything built by man will vanish, including these monuments that have stood the test of time for thousands of years. The only thing that will last is what people have done for Jesus Christ."