3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Paul continued his reminder to the Ephesians as to how they had lived as non-Christians. Not only do non-Christians hold to a satanic worldview, but they also live out their belief system.
The “whom” here refers to unbelievers who carried the negative volition of the previous verse. They were not open to persuasion about the truthfulness of Christianity.
also we all once conducted [behaved] ourselves
Our previous non-Christian experience had a way of life, a philosophy of life, behind it. There was a time when we ordered our lives by negative volition toward God (v. 2).
in the lusts [cravings] of our flesh [sin capacity],
“Lusts” here is broader than sexual lusts. The word includes any kind of illicit desire.
Our “flesh” is our sin capacity as over against individual sins. It is the source of sinning, the factory that produces sin or anything alien to God. The flesh can present itself in both respectable and disreputable manners.
fulfilling [performing] the desires of the flesh [sin capacity] and of the mind [faculty of understanding],
Non-Christians carry out cravings of their sin capacity and their mind (thought life). “Flesh” does not refer to our physical bodies but to a nature within us that is alien to all that God represents. The sin capacity never improves; it is just as sinful 20 years after we received Christ as the day we believed in Him. The gravitational pull of our sin capacity will always be there. We have a new nature and it is incapable of sinning.
The “mind” indicates that, as non-Christians, we went further than the blind impulses of our sin capacity. Our sin was more than overt; it lay hidden in the mind.
and were by nature [innately] children of wrath,
We once functioned innately in our sin capacity, our unregenerate state. “Nature” is our fundamental constitution. It makes us do what comes naturally. Because of this we were objects of God’s wrath from childhood. That was our natural state. We were born into this state. It did not come merely by circumstance or some act.
“Children” indicates we were born into “wrath.” Wrath is God’s antagonism toward Satan’s offspring.
just as the others.
All of mankind is in a state of wrath before God. What is true in some unbelievers is true in all unbelievers.
Unregenerate people deserve God’s wrath.
Man’s opposition to God is inveterate, chronic, and hardened. His rebellion against Him is so ingrained that he is incorrigible without the supernatural, convicting work of the Holy Spirit. God has no other alternative than to execute His wrath on those who reject the ministry of the Spirit in their lives (Jn 3:36; He 10:28-31).
Alienation of man against God is hopeless without God Himself intervening for him. We will see this in verses four and five. God Himself reached down in the past with His own initiative to save sinners from the penalty of their sin. In addition, presently He will personally bring them to a point of decision to receive Christ as Savior.
Man’s condition makes it impossible for him to come to God on his own. His state is hopeless without God. The Bible does not present man with unrealistic optimism.