Verse of the Day – Ephesians 4:17-19
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
As we work our way through Ephesians 4:17-19 we have learned that gentiles, that is in this context those who are not saved, walk and live in the futility of their minds. Their understanding is darkened to the point that they live in a perpetual state of alienation from the life of God and they grow more and more ignorant of the truth. They are living in a constant state of utter spiritual darkness. This state of being, having a mind and will that is bound in sin, finds them living only to fulfill their own desires, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. This is all the world has to offer and this is all that they are able to desire and chase after.
The only cure for this condition is the Cross! It is the life, death, and resurrection of Christ – the gospel, the atonement – that brings with it the promise of new and everlasting life, of freedom from sin, a transformation in our very heart of hearts, and a new mind.
Let us look at the Scriptures here, for in them we see that before Christ we walked in the futility of our minds but now according to Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 2:1-5, and 2 Cor. 5:17, we are given a new mind, the mind of Christ.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
This tells us first of all that if we have indeed been saved, if our conversion is genuine, then we will be different – from the inside out. We were dead in sin and bound to walk in the futility of our fallen minds. Now we are alive and have new minds and new hearts. We now have the desire and the ability to please God! This is a tremendouns change. So much is different that if one professes to know Christ and yet remains unchanged then they are either a liar or self deceived. No one can come to Christ and remain as they are.
Further, when it comes to our minds, if we are not truly saved then all the doctrine and truth we know serves only to prove the futility of our own minds. We cannot “think” our way into the kingdom. We must come as any sinner comes by crying out for mercy. Salvation is not a mental accomplishment, it is not the power of positive thinking, it is not even assenting to the truth of the gospel in our fallen minds. Truth be told, we cannot hold the message of the gospel only in our minds and expect there to be any change, any conversion.
Salvation requires a return – repentance. And remember, repentance is itself a change of mind. Read Isaiah 29:13-14 and Joel 2:13:
Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”
So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.
When we understand the dramatic difference that exists between the mind of a lost man and the mind of a redeemed man we see that while there may not be any discernable intellectual difference, there is indeed deep down a difference in what motivates, drives, and forms our thinking about life, God, sin, salvation, the church, and truth.
The Bible tells us that there is a difference between the wisdom and ways of God and the wisdom and ways of men. His thoughts are above our thoughts. His wisdom seems foolish to us, and our wisdom is indeed foolishness to Him. How often do we think that we have life and theology all figured out and packed nicely into a smart system? And yet His ways are so far above ours that He has to humble Himself just to look into the affairs of heaven!
And when we are His, the world can tell a difference. They wonder why we do not run with them in a flood of dissipation, that is the same flood of sin and self indulgence (1 Peter 4:4). They do not understand. They cannot understand. Whatever semblence of morality and ethics they have is not founded on an understanding of the truth for the truth of God’s Word and ways is spiritually discerned.
Is it any wonder then that Festus accused Paul of being mad? As Paul gave his testimony before King Agrippa, Festus the governor cried out, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” (Acts 26:24). He believed and proclaimed that Paul was out of his mind. And you know the truth? Paul was out of his mind!! He was out of his old, dead, fallen, futile mind. He was giving evidence through his testimony to the change that coming to know Christ brings about and the truth of his testimony is that Paul, like every believer in Jesus Christ, is absolutely out of his mind, praise God!
We are no longer bound in sin. Our thoughts are not always and only focused on self. Our minds are free from the bondage of sin and the inability to please God. Our old man has been put off, with his ways and his thoughts. We have been delivered. In fact, Paul in his testimony describes the saving power of the gospel by proclaiming:
While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
There it is – this great transformation. From darkness to light. From futility to fulfillment, from slavery in sin to freedom in righteousness!
The world will always think that we followers of Christ are out of our minds. Perhaps it is time that we told them they were right! We are out of our minds. Now we have the mind of Christ.
The next step then is to live like it.
Links for Further Study
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