Let’s keep Paul’s flow of thought going here as we engage our passage today. The Church is God’s statement of victory to the powers of evil. Therefore let’s let the Church do what it is supposed to do, producing mature, Christ-like believers, relying on the giftedness that God has given to His people to do so.
As an application of all of this, Paul declares in our reading today that Christians should not walk as the Gentiles do. By “Gentiles” he means unbelievers. When he uses the word “walk” he means their way of life. Few things are sadder in this world than a person who is trying to be a Christian, but who is living that “Gentile” kind of life.
Paul mentions several things about the way the lost people live.
- v.17 – “in the futility of their minds”. The attitudes and mindset of lost people are futile. For all their cleverness and worldly wisdom, they are not getting anywhere in the areas of life that really matter.
- v.18 – “darkened in their understanding”. They do not have an accurate understanding of what life is really all about.
- v.18 – “alienated from the life of God”. Apart from Jesus, everyone has a giant roadblock between themselves and God. They are unhooked from the only thing that matters.
- v.18 – “ignorant due to hardness of heart”. These people are completely ignorant of God and His salvation, not because they have not heard about it, but because their hearts are hard and they have rejected it.
- v.19 – “They have become callous”. Not callous in general, but callous toward God.
- v.19 – “given themselves up to sensuality, greedy and impure”. If you are not focused on God then what do you focus on to make life worthwhile? Answer – you focus on food, drink, parties, experiences, sexuality, and other things that have a naughty little edge to them. People try to find joy in the pleasures of life.
Now, to the Christian Paul says “don’t do that”. Christians have an entirely different worldview, an entirely different approach to life, and an entirely different way of find joy and satisfaction in this world. We look to God first and foremost. So review your life and try to avoid walking as the Gentiles walk.