17 So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart. source
Please see the brackets in the third line around unbelieving. It is really important for us to grasp Paul is penning about not just any Gentiles, but the unbelieving, as there were many Gentiles in the Community (Church, Body) at Ephesus. Another clue for us that when a Gentile became a follower of the Jewish Messiah, they became family. Yeshua (Jesus as you may address Him) has One Family, One community.
But what of these unbelieving Gentiles? It was a term his readers understood; well understood. Outcasts. Banished from the Commonwealth of Israel.
BUT look it’s self-banishment! It’s not GOD’s will that any be banished! (See 2 Peter3:9)
Self-banished. What a word! What does it mean? Banished means sent away as an official punishment.
A few questions.
How often do we send ourselves away from fellowship with GOD because we have deemed ourselves unworthy?
How many of us see the bottom layer of that thinking?
When we self-banish ourselves, who’s the judge, the jury and the executioner?
Who alone has that Office and Responsibility?
So what are we doing when we self-banish?
What would cause us to do that?
But it’s still damnable pride, is it not?
But wait! Does not the Scriptures tell us to judge ourselves so that we will not be judged?
Absolutely! It does! See 1 Corinthians 11:31. So what’s the factor here? The Response!
Pride sends us away!
Repentance draws us close!
1 Corinthians 11:31 Amplified Bible (AMP) 31 But if we evaluated and judged ourselves honestly [recognizing our shortcomings and correcting our behavior], we would not be judged. source
Please see it! And correcting our behavior! That’s what repentance does. It corrects our behavior. Pride, even subtle pride, keeps us banished.
Repentance. Oh, what a beautiful, loving, holy gift! Let us unwrap it as often as necessary!
Oh, Father, thank You, thank You for the gift of repentance! Pour out Your holy gift of conviction with repentance again and again that we may fellowship with You continually. Amen and amen in JESUS name.