We all know the difference between a person that is alive and a person who is dead… physically. If they have no pulse or brain waves functioning, then the life of that person has left their body and they are pronounced physically dead. If they did not put their trust in Christ to be their Savior, then before they were physically dead, they were spiritually dead in their sins and transgressions.
On the other hand, we who have placed our faith in Christ to be their Savior used to be spiritually dead in our sins and transgressions, but we became born again into a new spiritual life where we have been born into the family of God.
In Ephesians 4 the Apostle John gives us a clear picture of what life is like for the people who are not saved.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
Now that seems to me to be a rather horrible existence of someone who is physically alive but spiritually dead…and remember this was our state before becoming born-again. First, he says they live in the futility of their minds. The word futility means something that is vain, empty, without purpose, and devoid of truth.
He says there is ignorance in them because their hearts are hardened, and they have become callous and see nothing wrong in giving themselves up to sensuality and are greedy to every kind of impurity to which they are giving themselves over. Not a very pretty picture describing the life of the lost.
Unfortunately for me, there was a period of time in my life when as a Christian man, husband, father…and Senior Pastor I lived that way as well…much to my shame. If one is not a Christian, then living that way seems to be ok in certain circles. I am reminded of the days in High School and college where what seemed to be important was making it to the weekend so that we could get drunk and hope to get laid. I was successful in the first task but only failed miserably in the second…thank God.
Paul points out that much of this is the result of one main thing…a hardness of heart. That is referring to the lost state of an unbeliever. Instead of being open to the God who created and is sustaining their life…they want no accountability, no rules, and the freedom to do whatever they darn well please.
This hardness of the heart has dire consequences. They crave sensuality only to find that their appetite for sensuality is never satiated and always wants more. Also, noticed it says they have…
“…given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.”
(meaning they are doing it regularly)
This is not Paul describing believers who are struggling with or addicted to sexual sin. If someone has given themselves over to sexual sin and pursuing it as a lifestyle then I would doubt they are truly born-again before I would come to the conclusion that they were saved and have lost their salvation.
Someone who is truly born-again does not reach that point of completely giving themselves over to their addiction to sin. They still want to stop. They struggle with guilt and shame because they know this is not the life God has for them. They desire purity at times…but still find themselves being lured away and enticed by their sexual desires.
So, ask yourself this question…
Do I really want to stop looking at porn and committing sexual sins?
If the answer in your heart of hearts, not in a moment when you might be being tempted, is yes, I want you to know there is hope for you. For over 8 years I battled with my flesh and was being drawn further and further into sexual sin. From Porn to strip clubs and even some prostitutes and affairs…by the grace of God I hit rock bottom and the truth about me was revealed.
I was physically alive and spiritually alive but trying to be a Christian but failing over and over again. This is why I related to what Paul wrote in Romans 7…
“For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate…But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
Does it surprise you hearing these words from the Apostle Paul in the middle of the book of Romans right before he writes Romans 8??? The Apostle Paul himself knew of this struggle with his flesh just as we know the struggle with ours. He said he struggles with the sin of covetousness. Wanting another man’s house, wife, or servants.
And yet he ends with these words that should give us great hope…
“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
God through Jesus Christ our Lord set him free…and He wants to do the same in your life.