DO YOU HAVE A VAIN OR RENEWED MIND?
Please read the above passage in the New Testament as an introduction to this interesting study of the mind of man. and woman. Ephesians 4:17 says, “This I say and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.” By contrast verses 22,23 state, “Put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” These scriptures declare that people who are not Christians have a vain mind, and it is their vain mind that prevents them from becoming Christians. It also states when people become Christians God renews their minds. In this study we will examine the vain mind of an unbelieving world who reject Christ and live without hope and God in the world. The Bible teaches that all who do not serve God through His Son Jesus Christ are suffering from a vain mind.
Let us first determine what a vain mind is. What constitutes a vain mind? What are characteristics of a vain mind? The mind is the part of a human being that thinks, perceives, feels wills etc. It generally believed that the mind is made up of the intellect, emotions and will. The word vain is defined my Greek Lexicon as what is devoid force, truth, success and appropriateness. It is described by such words as perverse, empty, foolish and worthless. Suffice it say that a vain mind is a bad mind and most unbecoming to God's creatures whom He made in His own image. God created us with great intelligence, a moral nature and a spiritual nature. We are not left to speculate as to how such a bad mind-set develops in human beings. A vain mind produces a life that is frivolous, empty, useless to God, inappropriate and to no purpose because it is based on unfixed principles and upon false, unsettled ideas. According to Paul in Ephesians 4:18,19, the human mind becomes vain for four reasons. Let us briefly examine these causes that lead people to live their entire lives without God, Christ and the hope of eternal life.
In the first place people live in the vanity of their minds because of a darkened understanding. The understanding is our intellectual faculties. .The Bible speaks of the eyes of the understanding. The mind is the eye of the soul. The Bible says of an unbelieving, impious world, “having eyes to see, they see not and having ears to hear they hear not.” With weak minds devoid of truth and the knowledge of God, they live a life that is useless to God and without meaning or purpose to themselves. I agree with
Albert Barnes who said, “The understanding becomes darkened by sin. A man who is intemperate, has no just views of the government of the appetites. A man who is unchaste, has no perception of the loveliness of purity. A man who is avaricious or covetous, has no just views of benevolence. A man who indulges in low vices, will weaken his mental powers and render himself incapable of intellectual effort. Indulgence in vice destroys the intellect as well as the body.” Drug and alcohol addiction destroys our brain cells, and we just have so many. If they are destroyed, they are never replaced. Nothing is more obvious that indulgence in vice and immoral habits weakens the mental powers, and renders them unfit for high intellectual effort. This is seen in America and all over the world. When missionaries take the gospel to the backward nations of the world, they almost have to create an intellect as well as a conscience before the gospel will make an impression on them. The intellect of multitudes of young college men and women is being endangered by licentiousness and drunkenness. I also agree with Barnes when he said, “He who wishes a mind well balanced and clear should fear and love God; and had Christianity done no other good on earth than to elevate the intellect of mankind, it would have been the richest blessing which has ever been vouchsafed to the race.”
The second reason listed for producing a vain mind is, “because of the ignorance that is in them.” Ignorance is simply a want of knowledge, and the reference here is not general ignorance. They may very intelligent on many subjects, but they are ignorant of divine things. They lack knowledge of God. They know little or nothing about the knowledge of God as revealed in the Bible, and the knowledge of God as manifested in the material creation. The Bible says, “Every house is built by some man, but He who built all things is God.” What Paul said of the unbelievers in olden time might be said of many today. In Romans 1:20,21 Paul said that the unseen traits of God are perceived since the creation of the world, being shown by the things that are made, both His everlasting power and divinity, so that they are without excuse. In the Christian religion, God has given us the knowledge of all things that pertain to life and godliness, so that all people are without excused for the lack of knowledge that is in them.
The third cause for vanity of the mind is blindness of the heart.
Hardness is a better word. The heart is the mind. Through worldly living and a refusal to do God's will their hearts have become callused and insensible to spiritual influences. They perceive no beauty in Divine things, no preciousness in Divine promises, and no excellence in Divine things.
This makes them without understanding, lacking in knowledge, careless and insensible. It alienates them from the life of God and causes them to have no interest in spiritual and holy service.
The fourth and final characteristic of a vain mind is that the mind is past feeling. The word rendered past feeling means to be insensitive to pain. Applied to the mind it means to be insensible to Divine truth, honor and shame. To be past feeling is to have a bad conscience. Wrongdoing produces no guilty feelings. The conscience has been almost or altogether destroyed. They ignore God and His will without any disturbance of conscience. Thus they live out their lives without a sense of shame, without conscience, without a sense of wrongdoing, without fear of God or regard for man, without any perception of the dignity of human nature or the perverseness of sin. This is what it means to live in the vanity of our minds. They become estranged from the kind of life God wants them to live. The mind that refuses to have God, that mind God will not have. It must be evident from our study that the only cure for a vain mind is education, education, education! Not just any education, not secular education, not scientific education, but Christian education, Bible education, and Divine education.
Finally I call your attention to another mind mentioned in this passage. Having pictured the vain mind, Paul adds in verse 20, “But you have no so learned Christ.” He tells us that vain mind and the life it produces are not the lessons we have received from Christ. Jesus teaches us to put off the old man which is corrupt because of sinful desires and be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Christians have a renewed mind, and a renewed mind is a Christ-taught mind. Blessed are those whose minds have been renewed by Christ. There are many teachers in this world-- secular, scientific and religious, but there is only one Teacher who can renew the human mind, and that teacher is Jesus Christ The Bible says, “If any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new.” When a penitent believer in Christ emerges from the water of baptism, the time when forgiveness takes place, he enters the kingdom God on earth with a renewed mind and a determination to live a pious and holy life. We have learned in this study that all must be renewed in mind in order to be saved. It is a matter of obligation. Jesus said, “Except a man is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. If you have any questions, call the number on this website.