In these verses, Paul makes it clear just how dead we were before Christ saved us. He exposed our bondage to sin, our control from a powerful evil being, and the fact we were slaves of all our own evil passions. We need to remember the hopelessness of our former selves and how lost we were apart from the amazing grace of God!
The editors of the NKJV wanted to put a ray of hope in verse 1 by including the bracketed words from verse 4 because these three verses are very dark and bleak without them. But the Apostle Paul let all the bluntness and finality of our hopeless state be exposed: we were dead in our sin and defenseless slaves of three wicked forces: 1) the world, 2) Satan, and 3) the flesh. Furthermore, Paul reveals that we were by our very nature objects of God’s wrath.
But we who were dead have been made alive in Christ Jesus! By the grace of God, by faith, we have escaped the wrath of God. Hallelujah!
Therefore, may the reminder today of the hopeless cesspool from which we have been saved engender in our hearts a fresh spirit of thankfulness to God for His amazing grace. May it also motivate us to live in the power of the Spirit over the three evil influences that once doomed us.