Posted by Pastor Pat on November 20, 2009
Read Ephesians 4:17-32
The intent of this article is to show how what we once were in Adam we no longer are, but still have. Paul’s point from the beginning of the letter all the way through chapter 3 is to note how those who were once in sin’s debt and alienated from God are now redeemed from sin and adopted into God’s family. He is their Father and they are His children.
Paul is clear in verses 17 through 22 as to what this in Adam condition looks like both as a state and as a function. I would like us to consider the graphic nature of Paul’s language in describing those apart from Christ. There are several descriptive phrases that help us mark the unbelieving state and practice.
First, there is the futility of their mind (v. 17). The word “futility” speaks to vanity, emptiness. “The word contains the idea of aimlessness, the leading to no object or end.” It is the same word used in Romans 8:20 (“For the creation was subjected to futility. . .”) and in 2 Peter 2:18 (“For speaking out arrogant words of vanity. . . ”). There is emptiness to the conclusion drawn by those who do not and will not acknowledge God. Because there is no fear of God within their thinking, they have no wisdom (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10). This is the manner of life that characterizes the unbelieving.