Some people just don't get it. You can shine the light right in their faces and, like a deer frozen by approaching headlights, they never see a thing until it's too late.
It's a tragedy of this fallen world that people cannot see the light of the Gospel. It's not that they haven't been exposed: some have been overexposed. They stare at the light but they don't see it.
Have you ever been at a meeting where the Gospel was presented so clearly and convincingly that you wondered how anyone could go away without becoming a Christian? Or have you read a book like C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity and thought if everybody could read that book, they would all be persuaded that the Gospel is true? It makes so much sense. Why don't they see it?
They have been blinded.
"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory
of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor. 4:3-4). The Gospel shines forth with light and glory, but they have no ability to see it!
For those seeking new and contemporary ways of presenting the truth to the world, this is an important and sobering reality. Important because we realize there is more at work than simple persuasion, sobering because it reminds us we are doing spiritual battle with an enemy more powerful than ourselves.
If we fail to understand this, we can fall into a number of blind traps ourselves.
1. We can go overboard trying to convince people of the Gospel. We may even alter it to make it more acceptable to worldly tastes.
2. We can rely on human methods such as emotional appeals, scare tactics, etc., to coerce people into Christianity.
3. We can become exasperated with people start screaming at them or beating them with our Bibles. It's unnecessary. If they can't see a candle burning in the dark. they won't see approaching headlights either. They are blind and, as a friend of mine says, "You don't kick a blind man for running into a tree."
4. We may take their rejection personally. We may erroneously conclude that their lack of response is the result of our failure to persuade them. This sense of failure can even prompt us to use our own persuasive efforts with greater intensity. We scream louder and play the hymn through one more time.
All these problems stem from the assumption that we can make people see truth. We can't make people see; we can only make the Gospel clear. As Paul declared, "By setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God (2 Cor. 4:2).
As we do this, we must accept the reality that some people are blinded. We are in battle, but much of the warfare is beyond our sight. It's a spiritual battle in which God reveals and Satan blinds. Who sees and who doesn't is not our responsibility; our responsibility is only the clear, unadulterated presentation of the truth.
In that truth lies the hope that can even render Satan's veil powerless. As Paul goes on to declare, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
Only God can make light shine out of darkness. Anyone else must have a lamp hidden in the darkness in order to pull off this trick. But God can create light where there is no light and where there is no source of light: light out of nothing, light out of the darkness.
This is the wonderful miracle. Satan may blind hearts, but God can bring light out of that darkness in men's hearts. He doesn't even need to penetrate Satan's veil. He is a God of miracles. He simply commands, "Let light shine out of darkness" and there is light.
Our responsibility is summed up in Paul's simple but beautiful statement: "For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" (2 Cor. 4:5). Jesus Christ himself is the light we hold out to the world, the steady, clear burning candle in the darkness to which people will be drawn as God gives them eyes to see.
May our light be this candle in the dark and not the headlights of onrushing traffic.
Chapter 42 || Table of Contents