2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
according to the prince of the power [authority] of the air,
Satan is the “prince” or god who is over the power of the air (1 Jn 5:19; 2 Co 4:3, 4). As a prince, he holds the order of first place in his system. He is number one in his kingdom but a usurper of God’s kingdom. Today’s world follows “His Majesty, the Devil.”
The “power of the air” is Satan’s world system, his philosophy of life, which includes religion and righteousness without God as well as sin. People in this system are subject to his influence.
the spirit [the principle] who [that] now works
There is a principle that is busily at work presently among unbelievers. Satan controls or dominates non-Christians by worldview. He exercises compelling power over their lives by a set of principles.
“Works” in the New Testament is always used for supernatural power. Satan works supernaturally by offering compelling attraction to his system of thinking.
The “spirit” here is an impersonal principle of sinfulness energized by Satan. Non-Christians are not necessarily controlled directly by Satan, but they are on his wavelength; they are tuned to his philosophy and values. They are open to his influence because they also have a spirit of rebellion against the true God.
in the sons of disobedience,
The “sons of disobedience” are non-Christians. They are characterized by rebellion against God in a tyranny of darkness; they are not merely neutral toward Him. They carry an essential antagonism toward God. Often this antagonism is suppressed or held in check.
“Disobedience” indicates that those in the satanic worldview are unpersuadable, non-compliant to God. They are entrenched in negative volition toward God and His values.
Non-Christians are held in bondage to Satan’s system of thoughts and values.
Satan is sovereign within the world system. He rules the world by his viewpoint, his policy of alienation to God. Most people live in his cosmic system. When the Christian begins to believe in Satan’s viewpoint, the Bible calls this “worldliness.” This will trigger vulnerability to satanic influence in the believer. This might manifest itself in drug addiction, resentment, self-pity, or protracted anger.
The unbeliever is indifferent to God’s viewpoint. God’s way of life is boring to him; he disregards it as something in which he does not want to engage. When challenged with God’s thinking, he becomes hostile to the idea. He is dead toward the things of God. He does not like the idea that God condemns him as alien to His viewpoint. He prefers human viewpoint. He stands in cultural bondage to the prevailing worldview. The Christian worldview is too bigoted, narrow, and exclusivist to him.