What a horrible and hopeless condition the heathens in before being called by the gospel. They did not have Christ, where all spiritual blessings and forgiveness of sin are found, (Eph. 1:3) nor did they have the Law that would lead them to Him. The Jews were also lacking the fullness of these blessings, but they had the hope of the expected Messiah. The Gentiles were excluded from both the blessings and the hope. The Messiah was coming through the nation of Israel and very few Gentiles had even heard of it.
They were “strangers to the covenant of promise.” Abraham was promised a descendant who would be a blessing to all nations. Moses promised a prophet like him that all should listen to. The prophets promised the Messiah. The Jews had a school master preparing and bringing men to Christ. But the Gentiles were ignorant of all of this and excluded from the hope. The whole Gentile world was outside of these promises and blessings. They had nothing to look forward to, just as they no conciliation in this life.
Without God, the heathens had no hope, only blind groping because what witness God had given them was ignored or forgotten. God was still there, but their lives did not reflect it. Paul described the gloominess of this spiritual “blind man’s bluff” search for God to the Athenians: “that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27)
But then, thanks be to God, Christ came and offered His blessings to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:13) Reconciliations and forgiveness were found in Christ form them too.