My wife’s step-dad used to have massive hands! His fingers were big and thick, so much so that it was like there was no apace between his fingers, just one big paw. Not only were they huge and powerful, but they were hard and calloused. The kind of callous’ you can only get from years of swinging a hammer or handling a shovel.
When a person’s hands become calloused their sensitivity to touch decreases – a callous by its nature is hard and insensitive. This is how Scripture describes the ungodly – they are hardened, callous and insensitive to the Gospel:
Someone may read that and conclude; “I am not ungodly!”
So, before we continue with our verse, let’s define ungodly. It’s quite simple.
Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior – do you filter what you say, think and do through His revealed will in the Scripture (the Bible) – and when you stumble do you run to Him in prayer for forgiveness, knowing He is the only one that can save you from the Wrath to come, the Wrath of God you deserve?
Love warns, and in the most loving way I can manage, by the grace of God I must say, if your answer is not, “yes” – you are ungodly.
I know that sounds harsh; but this is not my opinion, it is the Truth found in God’s Word…let’s walk through this logically – after all, the Gospel is logical:
1) We must have a basis for Truth – I believe the Bible to be Truth, I believe it to be God’s Word without error. There is plenty of historical, archeological, literary, and prophetic evidence to prove the validity of Scripture.
2) Although there is plenty of complex, difficult to understand portions of God’s Word, there are also extremely clear texts regarding my statement above
3) Jesus said He was the Messiah, He said He is God, the Scripture predicted the coming Messiah 100’s of years before Christ and Jesus fulfilled these Prophecies with 100% accuracy
4) Scripture is clear that Jesus was the one final sacrifice for sin and those who do not believe (trust and have faith) in Him alone to save them will die in their sin
5) The greatest sin is unbelief, unbelief is the greatest act of disobedience to God
6) The Wrath of God is coming upon the “sons of disobedience” – our sin will condemn us for all eternity if not cleansed in “the Blood of the Lamb:, Jesus
Conclusion: Apart from Jesus Christ you do not have God, you are not God’s child – therefore, you are ungodly. You might be the nicest person in the world, or the most evil person in the world; apart from Christ you are equally ungodly.
How you respond to the Gospel Truth you just read will serve to either soften you or harden you to the Truth of God, your Creator.
They become callous…
Who has become callous?
The ungodly, Gentiles, unbelievers – in whatever way you want to phrase it, those apart from Christ are becoming callous, or have become callous – they have hardened. In that hardness, they have become insensitive to God, they have successfully circumvented their God given moral compass.
When you are hardened to God, and your moral compass is “rewired”, the Scripture tells us what follows:
They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality,
Sensuality has often been tied only to things of sexual nature; but the reality is, sensuality is anything that makes you feel good. Jumping in to a cool pool on a hot humid day feels good, a warm blanket on a frigid January night feels good – but I don’t think this is what Paul is referring to here. “Given themselves up to” suggests that this person is all about whatever sin feels good to them – “if it feels good, do it” kind of mindset. It’s true that fallen man gravitates to sexual sin, but sensuality is not limited to sexual sin.
We can easily conclude a person obsessed with pornography has given themselves up to sensuality; but what is not as easy to see is the person obsessed with the praise of others; the person who volunteers for everything for the sole purpose of the attention and praise they receive. I am not trying to single out the “super volunteer” – I am only trying to suggest that “sensuality” can have many different faces, not just the obvious.
The person described in verse 19 above has given themselves up to any and every sin that makes them feel good. One might conclude, “that’s not true, I don’t do this or that!” But, the reality is, a person that has given themselves up to sensuality doesn’t do “this or that” because the “this or that” they are referring to doesn’t bring them the pleasure they are seeking. For example, if I have given myself up to do whatever my flesh wants (sensuality) I wouldn’t drain my bank account gambling because gambling doesn’t give me the pleasure I would seek – however, there are things in my history before I was saved that I would pursue with an appetite that would never be satisfied.
You can see how the, “I don’t do this or that” argument breaks down. I love the quote I heard years ago, “You don’t think sin is that powerful? Try to quit.”
They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Greedy: having or showing an intense and selfish desire for something
Practice is something we intentionally pursue. An athlete does not accidentally become the best in the world at their chosen sport, they practiced it, they pursued it with focus and effort - if not daily, very often.
Paul indicates in this verse that a person that has given themselves up to sensuality has an intense and selfish desire to do something regularly – that something is “every kind of impurity”. God’s desire for us is purity, purity in thought, word, and action.
Sex for example is God’s design and gift to His creatures to be enjoyed between a man and women in the confines of marriage, but in our greed, we have made it impure when we engaged in sex in any other way.
Helping others is certainly a desire of God in our life, but we have made this pure act impure when we became greedy for the attention and praise of men for our deeds, rather than do them for the glory of God.
If the Lord has convicted you as you read this, circle back to the verse that got this series of posts started; Ephesians 4:17 – Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must not longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. In other words, you must think differently, you must repent – confess to God that you have used sex in a way other than its pure intent OR you have helped others with selfish intent OR (fill in the blank) – whatever God is convicting you of, repent and turn from it. As the Scripture says, “let the thief no longer steal” – the command is simple, if “your thing” is outside God’s will, quit before you are completely hardened.