Among whom also we all had our behavior in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
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He is speaking of a great deception when he brings to mind the “passions of the flesh.” For the pleasure of the flesh means being delighted by the visible, so that it gives the name of gods to the elements that God appointed as his means of ordering the world. But this name [God] belongs rightly to the one and only God, from whom everything derives…. If anyone imagines that the “passions of the flesh” mean anything else, let him reflect on how the apostle led a pure life. He lived without blemish according to the righteousness of the law. But because he had persecuted the church he includes himself in the “we”—“we lived in the passions of our flesh.” For every sin, according to Paul, has something to do with the deception associated with living according to the flesh, which is the mother of all corruption. –. ...
What then is meant by this wickedness of the natural man and of those who … “by nature” are children of wrath? Could this possibly be the nature created in Adam? That created nature was debased in him. It has run and is running its course now through everyone by nature, so that nothing frees us from condemnation except the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. ...
We speak of “nature” in two ways. When we are speaking strictly of nature itself, we mean the nature in which humanity was originally created— after God’s own image and without fault. The other way we speak of nature refers to that fallen sin nature, in which we are selfdeceived and subject to the flesh as the penalty for our condemnation. The apostle adopts this way of speaking when he says “for we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.” ...
Among whom St. Jerome (p. 3) refers it to trespasses or sins.
Were by nature; not by nature according to the state of man's first creation in paradise, but by nature infected with original sin by the fall of our first parents.
Even as the rest; that is, all mankind. (Witham)
When [Scripture] speaks of “sons of men” or “sons of rams,” it indicates an essential relation between the one begotten and the source of his begetting. But when it speaks of “sons of power” [as at Sam :] or “children of wrath,” it asserts a connection made by choice. .
There is a difference between sin of the flesh and sin of the mind. The sin of the flesh is indecency and profligacy and whatever might act as instrument to its lusts. The transgression of the mind pertains to doctrine contrary to truth and to the baseness of heretics. .
So that he would not appear to have exempted himself through pride when he said “your sins in which you walked,” he now adds “in which we also lived.” However, the one who says he has lived confesses past, not present, transgressions. .
* Among whom we also all once lived.
All, because he cannot say that any one is excepted.
* In the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
That is, having no spiritual affections. Yet, lest he should slander the flesh, or lest it should be supposed that the transgression was not great, observe how he guards the matter,
Doing, he says, the desires of the flesh and of the mind.
That is, the pleasurable passions. We provoked God to anger, he says, we provoked Him to wrath, we were wrath, and nothing else. For as he who is a child of man is by nature man, so also were we children of wrath even as others; i.e., no one was free, but we all did things worthy of wrath. ...
In perfect agreement with reason was that indignation which resulted from his desire to maintain discipline and order. When, however, he says, "We were formerly the children of wrath".
and, "We also were by nature children of wrath; ".
But the apostle, too, had lived in Judaism; and when he parenthetically observed of the sins (of that period of his life), "in which also we all had our conversation in times past".
he must not be understood to indicate that the Creator was the lord of sinful men, and the prince of this air; but as meaning that in his Judaism he had been one of the children of disobedience, having the devil as his instigator-when he persecuted the church and the Christ of the Creator. Therefore he says: "We also were the children of wrath "but "by nature.".
, but by the election of their fathers, he (must have) referred their being children of wrath to nature, and not to the Creator, adding this at lasts "even as others".
Similarly, too, (when writing) to the Ephesians, ...
As a Jew Paul had been one of the “children of unbelief” in whom “the devil was at work,” especially when he persecuted the church and the Christ of the Creator. On this account he says, “We were by nature children of wrath.” But he says “by nature” so that a heretic could not argue that it was the Lord who created evil. We create the grounds for the Creator’s wrath ourselves. . ...