Sabbath-Breaking and the Sons of Disobedience (Ephesians 2:3)

We must acknowledge the allusion in Ephesians 2:3 to Isaiah 58:13 is not certain, as is often the case with allusions. However, the phrase “doing the wills” is only used in these two passages, and along with other linguistic similarities between the two verses, the theological point fits the context of Ephesians 2:3. Both Jews and Gentiles “formerly lived in the desires of [their] flesh, doing the wills of the flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath.” The Gentiles followed their corrupt wills, and the Jews followed their wills instead of God’s, exemplified by Sabbath-breaking. Both Jews and Gentiles were “sons of disobedience,” in rebellion against God. And thus both needed God’s mercy found only in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5).

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