Paul wrote in Ephesians four:
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
This is one of the 7 WALKS found in Ephesians. Let’s break down this WALK of the other Gentiles to find what we may learn.
THE FUTILE WALK. Eph 4:17-19
The first thing that jumps out is verse 17, WALKING in the VANITY of their minds. This word vanity refers to our modern word ‘FUTILITY.’ Futile means; incapable of producing any result; ineffective; useless; not successful; trifling; frivolous; unimportant. Once you see that, you can immediately recognize this problem with so many of us. We focus on the minors, ignoring the majors. We know more about the celebrities of pop culture than we do of the heroes of faith (cf. Heb 11). Keeping up with the Kardashians will not help any go to heaven.
In one sense, everything is trivial when compared to an eternity in Heaven or Hell. If we elevate any activity above serving the Lord, it is WALKING IN FUTILITY. Politics, Pop Culture or even your Papa can become vanity when we view them as our savior. Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt 10:37). Paul wrote, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col 1:18)
The next glaring condition is, “being ALIENATED from the life of God.” Paul’s theme in the opening chapters of Ephesians are about ALIENS being reconciled to God. “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” He finishes by saying, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:11-13) being ALIENATED from God is a hopeless existence and to be greatly avoided.
Next, Paul describes the walk of the other gentiles as giving themselves over to “LASCIVIOUSNESS, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (4:19). This describes LEWD behavior coupled with greediness. Greed is exemplifying self.
Paul will write to the Galatians about the lust of the flesh, one of which is ‘selfish ambitions’ (emulations kjv). Look at the other lists in Romans 1:20-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-10; 2Timothy 3:1-9 et al. LEWD & GREED together opens the door to all kinds of debauchery in hedonism.
Lastly, intermixed with all of the above is that their understanding is darkened. Their KNOWLEDGE of God, His Love, His Promises, His Sacrifice is as blindness of the heart. He also calls it ‘ignorance.’ It’s one thing to be ignorant, this text suggests ignorance because they don’t want to know. Someone who will not see has no advantage over the one that cannot see.
The most common problem I notice when talking to folks is the complete lack of interest in the reading of God’s word. This among those who claim to love the Lord. They often refer to what they think the bible says, what their pastor said, what they think they know, but seldom do they actually know. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
The bible says this about the Word, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”