“Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: you should no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their thoughts. They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more. But that is not how you came to know Christ. You heard about Him [Christ] and were taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus,” Ephesians 4:17-21.
As we look at verse 17, Paul describes the fundamental condition of heathenism—the belief and practice of idolatry, i.e., a people that do not acknowledge God or an uncivilized person and uncultured, one whose religion is paganism.
Paul says look at this heathen world. They have no understanding of God, only the understanding of darkness, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts. They have given themselves over unto lasciviousness. They are driven by sex, lust, having only one thing in mind. They are unclean and greedy, reckless, hopeless, and aimless.
This is the vanity of the mind, living in pride—not having a changed mind but a wicked mind. This is why we are taught: “As a man thinks that in his heart, so is he,” Proverbs 23:7.
They became vain in their imagination, passion, and are foolish and blind. For they are lost. Paul is saying whatever you do, don’t be like the unconverted walking in carnal affections.
Don’t live without the loving conception of a living God, aimless, hopeless, and reckless. People who live like this are devoid of all saving knowledge—living in darkness, and loving it more than light. They dislike holiness and the life God requires and approves of. Theirs is not the life we should live. In Christ we are to live in His purity, righteousness, truth and goodness—not in corruption of heathenism.
This is not how you came to know Christ or to learn of Him. This implies the instructions, the Lord’s precepts, and the holy bearing of His work. You have a new convert in the word of God. For you heard about Him, were taught by Him, and received the truth in Jesus Christ.
The word you have received is altogether and different from that of all other teachings you have in Christ. This is what makes you different. Living in the true unity of the Spirit, by the wisdom of the word of God.
What do you have?