The dead sinner has only one course he can take which is to follow the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2). All he knows to do is go with the flow of this world’s values and behaviors. Without realizing it, he’s marching to the drum of Satan himself.
For example, there was a man in Luke 9 who had an opportunity to change his course. He met the Lord, and the Lord said to him, “Follow me” (Lk 9:59). But the man responded, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” In other words, he told Jesus, “I’ll follow you, but give me a few years. My father’s old. He won’t be alive much longer. Once he has passed, I’ll collect my inheritance and come find you.”
That man stood in the presence of God. God in the flesh invited him to come along. He had a chance to be with the one whom Peter said has the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68). But he valued materialism more than Christ.
Was he spiritually dead?
Consider what Jesus said to him: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead” (Lk 9:60). Did Jesus call that man, dead? Who knows. But he did insinuate that the man’s misguided priority was characteristic of the spiritually dead. The man was more concerned about his future inheritance than committing his life to the Savior.
Remember what Jesus said on another occasion: “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me. I give them eternal life” (Jn 10:27-28). He also said to the unbelieving Jews that day, “You do not believe because you are not among my sheep” (Jn 10:26).
Sheep, goats, wolves—every creature acts according to his nature. As for the spiritually dead, Paul said they will follow the course of this world, which means they will continue to walk a path of disobedience to God (Eph 2:2). They will not have any regard for the will of God nor his Word.
Furthermore, they are incapable of truly comprehending spiritual things. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them” (1Co 2:14). Spiritual insight requires spiritual life which a dead person does not possess.