“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”2 Corinthians 4:3-4
Have you ever felt cold towards the gospel? Have you heard that Christ died for your sins and was raised from the dead and just felt blah. If that is you, because I know it has been me at times, then I want to alert you to something. This is more than just unfortunate; this is war. And this coldness to Christ is a direct attack from the enemy. The devil is blinding you to glory.
So what is his mode of attack? For non-believers he veils, not simply the gospel, but the glory of the gospel. He tries to keep away not merely the message of Christ, but the glory of Christ. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). And we’ve all seen it: The message is given, Christ is clearly portrayed as crucified, and the person you are talking to couldn’t care less. It’s not that he hasn’t heard the message, it’s that he’s been blinded to the glory of the message. The reason people don’t come to Christ in our culture is not primarily ignorance of the basics of the Christian message, it’s blindness to the glory in it. If people are ever to be saved, God must work a miracle as amazing as the miracle of creation in people’s hearts. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).
Towards the Saved
If you are a Christian, the devil has no claim on you. In the book of Hebrews, we learn that through the death of Christ He has destroyed, “the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb 2:14). Paul reminds the Colossians that God has, “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Col 2:15). We know that in the end, the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire where he will be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev 20:10). And while he has lost his sting, he is still described as that “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and the dragon who has “come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev 12:12).
And while the devil has not blinded us in a damning way, yet even still the devil attacks us here. What method of attack does he use toward the believer? He causes us to neglect the means of grace like fellowshipping with other believers, reading the Bible, and prayer. He makes us preoccupied with sports, music, and jobs, all the while blinding us to the glory of Christ. And all of these things lead to a coldness towards Christ, a boredness with the gospel. We are so fascinated by the shiny things in the world that we take our eyes off real treasures, eternal riches in Christ. Even more nefariously, the devil can twist a holy hatred of emotionalism and charismania into a reactionary pride over how cool and calculating we can be about the things of God.
How Do We Fight?
So what should we do? We should not be ignorant of the devil’s schemes! We should fight like good soldiers. We should not neglect the regular gathering of the saints where we are encouraged to fix our eyes on Jesus. We should daily behold His glory in the Bible. We can pray things like this: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Let us set our eyes on things above, remembering that our enemy is on the attack. Let us fight to see the glory of Christ. May we hate coldness just as much as we hate emotionalism. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
© Jacob Crouch 2023