Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past,
&c.] What the apostle says of the Gentile Ephesians before conversion, he says of himself and other Jews; and this he does, partly to show that it was not from ill will, or with a design to upbraid the Gentiles, that he said what he did; and partly to beat down the pride of the Jews, who thought themselves better than the sinners of the Gentiles; as well as to magnify the grace of God in the conversion of them both: the sense is, that the apostle and other Jews in the time of their unregeneracy, had their conversation according to the customs of the world, and to the prince of the air, and among unbelievers, as well as the Gentiles; and that they were equally sinners, and lived a like sinful course of life:
in the lusts of our flesh;
by "flesh" is meant, the corruption of nature; so called, because it is propagated by natural generation; and is opposed to the Spirit, or principle of grace; and has for its object fleshly things; and discovers itself mostly in the body, the flesh; and it makes persons carnal or fleshly: and this is called "our", because it belongs to human nature, and is inherent in it, and inseparable from it in this life: and the "lusts" of it, are the inward motions of it, in a contrariety to the law and will of God; and are various, and are sometimes called fleshly and worldly lusts, and the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: and persons may be said to have their conversations in these, when these are the ground of their conversation, when they are solicitous about them, and make provision for the fulfilling of them, and constantly employ themselves in obedience to them, as follows:
fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind:
or the wills of them; what they incline to, will, and crave after: various are the degrees of sin, and its several motions; and universal is the corruption of human nature; not only the body, and the several members of it, are defiled with sin, and disposed to it, but all the powers and faculties of the soul; even the more noble and governing ones, the mind, understanding, and will, as well as the affections; and great is the power and influence which lust has over them:
and were by nature children of wrath,
even as others: by which is meant, not only that they were wrathful persons, living in malice, hateful, and hating one another; but that they were deserving of the wrath of God, which comes upon the children of disobedience, among whom they had their conversation; and which is revealed from heaven against such sins as they were guilty of, though they were not appointed to it: and they were such "by nature"; really, and not in opinion, and by and from their first birth: so a Jewish commentator
F19 on these words, "thy first father hath sinned", ( Isaiah 43:27 ) has this note;
``how canst thou say thou hast not sinned? and behold thy first father hath sinned, and he is the first man, for man (ajxb ebjwm) , "is naturally in sin";''or by nature a sinner, or sin is naturally impressed in him; and hence being by nature a sinner, he is by nature deserving of the wrath of God, as were the persons spoken of:
even as others;
as the rest of the world, Jews as well as Gentiles; and Gentiles are especially designed, in distinction from the Jews, the apostle is speaking of; and who are particularly called in the Jewish dialect (Myrxa) , "others"; (See Gill on Luke 18:11).
F19 Kimchi in loc.