That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise…
I have read of a tribe of savages that bury their dead in secret, by the hands of unconcerned officials. No grassy mound, no memorial stone guides the poor mother's steps to the quiet corner where her infant lies. The grave is levelled with the soil; and afterwards a herd of cattle is driven over and over the ground, till every trace of the burial has been obliterated by their hoofs. Anxious to forget death and its inconsolable griefs, these heathen resent any allusion to the dead. You may not speak of them. In a mother's hearing, name, however tenderly, her lost one, recall a dead father to the memory of his son, and there is no injury which they feel more deeply. From the thought of the dead their hearts recoil. How strange! How unnatural! No, not unnatural. Benighted heathen, their grief has none of the alleviations which are balm to our wounds, none of the hopes that bear us up beneath a weight of sorrows. Their dead are sweet flowers withered, never to revive; joys gone, never to return. To remember them is to keep open a rankling wound, and preserve the memory of a loss which was bitter to feel and still is bitter to think of: a loss which brought only grief to the living, and no gain to the dead. To me, says Paul, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. They know nothing of this; nothing of the hopes that associate our dead in Christ with sinless souls, and sunny skies, and shining angels, and songs seraphic, and crowns of glory, and harps of gold.
(T. Guthrie, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: