“Without hope and without God in the world.”
That’s the way the Apostle Paul summarized the Gentile world. They lived in a world of gods but really had no God. They often spoke of hope but in reality lived in a world without hope.
These words not only describe the Gentile world of Paul’s day but also the world of our day (Ephesians 2:11-22). People live their lives in “quiet desperation.” They live without hope and without God. Because they have no anchor or any assurance, they live with a basic fear which pervades every part of life. I simply cannot imagine having to live in that way. Tomorrow, we will look at a very different way to live.
How would you summarize what the gentiles of Paul’s day and our neighbors face?
First, more than anything else they lacked knowledge of the true God. Most of us remember the Greek and Roman pantheons from our high school days. How sad to worship gods such as these and to think that they might control your life. Why worship a lesser god when you can worship the Creator Himself? This is the point. Many people do not know the story of a God who loves them and gave His Son for them. The people of Ephesus had been just such people.
Second, gentiles lacked membership in God’s divine society. I am amazed at how often churched people take the household of God for granted. How sad to live without people who love you and love God.
Third, gentiles lacked any hope of a future blessing. The stories that we take for granted–God’s purpose for the world, His desire to bless, and the promises to the patriarchs meant nothing to the gentiles.
Finally, those apart from God had no hope beyond death. I see the sadness with those without hope too often. To see a family grieve without hope is an awful and sad experience. Many times no one in the family has any understanding of the hope that is in Christ.
Is it any wonder that the Roman and Greek world turned to Christ? In three hundred years, the Gospel had transformed the Mediterranean world.
Wouldn’t our neighbors love to hear of a God who cares for them and gives them peace for today and hope for tomorrow?
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