by Mike Ratliff

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 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; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, Ephesians 4:17-20 (NASB) 

We are looking again at Ephesians 4:17-20. In this short study we will look at the concept of spiritual blindness and the progressive “hardening” or “callousing” over of the heart toward God and His truth as men seek to center everything in self to have their worship and religion be Man Centered instead of where it should be, and is in the hearts of those truly Regenerate, God Centered. Oh yes, I do recognize that all of us must grow from spiritual infants into maturity and that we follow false teachers and bad doctrine, but God will not keep those who are His in this darkness forever, but will do what it takes to draw them out even if it means they become ejected from their home church for example. I have have heard forms of that from so many of you that I have lost track of the number and I no longer doubt that this is God’s doing for He did it to me as well.

Here is Ephesians 4:17-20 from the NA28 Greek text.

17 Τοῦτο οὖν λέγω καὶ μαρτύρομαι ἐν κυρίῳ, μηκέτι ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν, καθὼς καὶ τὰ ἔθνη περιπατεῖ ἐν ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν, 18 ἐσκοτωμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ ὄντες, ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ θεοῦ διὰ τὴν ἄγνοιαν τὴν οὖσαν ἐν αὐτοῖς, διὰ τὴν πώρωσιν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, 19 οἵτινες ἀπηλγηκότες ἑαυτοὺς παρέδωκαν τῇ ἀσελγείᾳ εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀκαθαρσίας πάσης ἐν πλεονεξίᾳ.
20 Ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν, Ephesians 4:17-20 (NA28)

Here is my translation:

17 This, therefore, I say and I testify with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having been darkened in their understanding, having been alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, through the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become calloused, have given themselves over to debauchery into working of unclearness all in greediness.
20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, Ephesians 4:17-20 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The word that we are focusing on here is translated as “hardness” as in “hardness of heart.” It is the Greek word πώρωσιν. The lexical form of this word is πώρωσις (pōrōsis). This is describing a blindness that is the result of a hardness or callousness. The usage of πώρωσιν is in the accusative singular. The direct object of the action here is the heart of the man-centered who are living in the futility of their minds and in real ignorance of God and His ways even though many of them think the very opposite. However, being man-centered, their hearts have become hardened to the truth of God and so they are not open to the truth.

This condition is a direct result of the fall (Genesis 3). All unregenerate people have hearts that are continually and deliberately growing more and more calloused toward God in spite of what the seeker-sensitive paradigm lie says. The result of this is that unless God performs a miracle of regeneration there, breaking through it, the hearts of these people become petrified, stone hard. Think of those to whom you have tried to share the Gospel or God’s truths and and you actually saw a stone-hard look materialize on their face. The longer you talked, the harder they got. This inner petrification of the very heart itself was the cause of this inborn ignorance which caused the darkening in spite of the light in nature and all the light inherited from Adam and from Noah, and with this darkening went alienation.

1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NASB) 

On the other hand, as I mentioned above, God is a miracle worker. He is perfectly able to save those whom He has elected through the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5) and the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:1-10). He gives all whom He saves a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). All the regenerate are in Christ and possess this heart of flesh and in this we do rejoice.

My brethren, think of all those “ministries” that call themselves “Christian” or “Christ followers” or “new kinds of Christians,” but they are man and self centered in all they do. They do not operate in the fear of God, but in the fear of man. They combine bits and pieces from all the world’s religions and attempt to call that “Christian.” Nope, sorry. Those are just some examples of men working in the futility of the minds and the ignorance of God. They deny God’s own doctrines and try to do what is pleasing to man instead. Those doing this and those leading this are spiritually blind. The only hope they have is the miracle of God breaking through those calloused hearts so we must pray for that to happen, but to be honest, they are actually already in the midst of the judgment of deception so…

Soli Deo Gloria!

5 thoughts on “Blindness

  1. Good stuff Mike!! I once heard Paul Washer speak of a old preacher who stated we must plow and plow and plow the hearts of men. This isn’t practiced in today’s ‘Christianity’. The false converts produced by easy believism/emerging/seeker sensitive/word faith propaganda have NO CLUE what it means to have the heart plowed. No plowing means hardness remains.

    Blessings to you brother



  2. Lyn, I have found the Word of God very rich and deep as I have slowed down and moved from a topical focus to a more interpretive focus, staying in a passage until God moves us on. Yes, I know that some have no patience for this sort of thing, but the teacher is being taught as well. 🙂 Blessings to you too my sister.


  3. Nice post, Mike!
    As you say, this can be observed in those we are witnessing to, and generally the worldly, unseperated folks.
    But also as you say, the Lord does do his miracles, and sometimes the “worst” sinners are the ones that He chooses to bless and save!
    It has been said that most conversions come at a very young age; 14 years old, or so.
    But I can testify of many known personally to me that were saved at 64, 81, 70, etc.
    Glory to God!


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