Nonbelievers are so bound in the sphere of sin, the world (Eph. 2:12), the flesh (Rom. 8:8), and the devil (1 John 5:19) as to be unable to respond to spiritual stimuli; totally devoid of spiritual life. The spiritually dead have no ability to make themselves alive.
Only through a union with Jesus Christ can those hopelessly dead in their sins receive eternal life. Believer’s sins are all put to Christ’s account, nailed to His cross as He paid the penalty in their place, for them, thus satisfying the just wrath of God against crimes requiring punishment in full.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Colossians 2:13,14.