Understanding the Wickedness of Our Day

Posted on October 15, 2021

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By David Ettinger

Can’t Understand
A common lament among believers goes something like this: I just can’t understand why unbelievers think the way they do. Can’t they see how wrong their ways are?

The answer is no, they can’t see how wrong their ways are, and we as believers can’t fathom this. Fortunately, there was a man who understood the heathen mindset and was able to explain it to those with a biblical mindset. This man is the apostle Paul.

Explaining the Heathen Mindset
In urging believers to walk righteously, Paul cautioned them against returning to their past heathen ways, rather keeping their eyes focused on God. In so doing, Paul explained the unbelieving mindset this way:

… the Gentiles … walk … in the futility of their minds, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Analyzing this passage can help us better comprehend the lunacy of our day and what makes those who propagate it tick.

Breaking it Down
The first truth Paul explains is that unbelievers walk “in the futility of their minds.” The Greek word for “futility” is mataiotés, which can be translated “emptiness” and “instability.” Though these individuals may have high human intelligence, they are spiritually blind, and therefore their beliefs – that which motivates them – are marked by emptiness and instability.

The second truth Paul explains is that unbelievers are “darkened in their understanding.” Jesus Christ is “the light of the world” (John 8:12) and therefore the only source of spiritual light. To reject Christ is to reject the light. This absence of light can only mean one thing: spiritual darkness. This darkness is prevalent in the West as never before and is increasing.

The third truth Paul explains is that unbelievers are “excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.” Again, this ignorance has nothing to do with human intelligence, but with spiritual understanding. Because unbelievers reject God, they reject the spiritual wisdom that comes with knowing God. This ignorance of God causes them to be excluded, or alienated, from God. There is a separation between them and God, which leads to all kinds of unbiblical and ungodly beliefs and behavior.

The fourth truth Paul explains is that unbelievers have a hardness of heart and have become callous. Specifically, they are callous toward the things of God. Though they might be nice, civil individuals, they find the things of God foolish and cannot accept them. For instance, the idea of sexual relations being reserved for marriage between and man and woman is ridiculous and even odious to them.

The fifth truth Paul explains is that unbelievers – and this is crucial – “have given themselves up to indecent behavior.” The Greek word for “indecent” is aselgeia, which can be translated “lewdness” and “outrageous conduct.” We are seeing this outrageous conduct being displayed in matters of “wokeness,” the transgender movement, the rise of socialism, and the ever-growing hatred of God, the Bible, and Christianity. And, as Paul makes clear, this outrageous conduct is voluntary – as unbelievers have “given themselves up” to it.

A Sad Explanation
So why is the world so out of control? Read Ephesians 4:17-19 again, apply it to what is happening in your nation, and see if it doesn’t explain it all:

… the Gentiles … walk … in the futility of their minds, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

It’s a sad but accurate explanation of the unbelieving mindset. Yet, God has put His people here to shine as lights in this futile, dark, ignorant, callous, and indecent world. Rather than lament what is happening in society, let us resolve to share the light of salvation in Jesus Christ with those who walk in the ever-blackening darkness!