In the age when church marketing teams have coined the phrase, “unstoppable gospel,” we must ask what they mean. If they mean that God will successfully save all of His elect, redeemed people, then we must agree. It is wise to doubt that the Reformed view of the Gospel is their idea, however.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, and he suggests the Gospel has not saved everyone who has heard the good news, “And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing (2 Cor 4:3).” Exegetically, it is noteworthy that the translated English words, “veiled” and “perishing” come from the same Greek root word. Clearly the implications are that the blind fall into the pit (Mt 15:14).
It is the devil’s work to keep the Gospel hidden from the sight of men. His advantage is the spiritual blindness that every person is conceived with from the beginning (Ps 51:5; Rom 5:12). He is given the title “god of this world” in this context (2 Cor 4:4). This suggests a significant scope to his power to maintain the world in darkness. In fact, it is impossible for the darkness, by itself, to comprehend the light that comes into the world (Jn 1:5), that is, Jesus Christ (Jn 8:12).
The very crux of salvation has been a point of debate between Christians, going back to Augustine, in the fifth century A.D. How God saves His people is a key question because men do preach, as the means to increase the light of truth in a world of lies. If one preacher claims that God chooses whether a man is saved or not (Mt 11:27; Jn 1:12–13; Rom 9:16), and another preacher claims that man himself chooses if he is saved, then, one must be true and the other is false.
Confusion abounds in churches, today. There are many points of doctrine that stand diametrically opposed to their counter point. Yet, opposing positions are embraced as Gospel truth by opposing camps. There is no confusion in the Bible, itself. The confusion sits with men interpreting the Bible. Theologians look for better hermeneutical models and methods, but today, the conclusion is either God-centered or man-centered theology.
God does not fail to do all His holy will, however (Eph 1:11). Blind men cannot see, even when it is noon, on a cloudless day. So when the veil of blindness is removed, spiritually, it is removed when one is transferred to be positioned in Christ, in the kingdom of light (1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 3:14; Col 1:13). Do blind men use their free will to decide not to be blind? It would be absurd to say they do.
The mind of the natural man is averse to spiritual matters (1 Cor 2:14). He continues in darkness, by Satan’s work to keep him in the dark. In his futility, the unbeliever thinks he is wise to what is going on in the world. He follows any number of men, who claim to be “in the know.” In truth, there is a way that seems right to the majority of men, but it ends in destruction (Prv 14:12; 16:25).
To see the light of the Gospel, requires the opening of blind eyes (Ps 146:8; Is 32:3; 42:7; Jn 9:1–34). Jesus demonstrated this miraculous power on a number of occasions, during His earthly ministry. Today, and since the Day of Pentecost, this is the work of the Holy Spirit to all nations, that is, peoples ordained to worship God in heaven (Rev 5:9; 7:9). The Spirit of Christ brings the light into the hearts of some, but not all (2 Cor 4:6).
The manifestation of divine light, witnesses the glory of Christ. The Christian has been made to see Jesus (Jn 12:21). His enmity toward the Son of God has been replaced by love for Him (Rom 1:30; 1 Jn 4:19). The source of this love is God Himself, who is love (1 Jn 4:8). When God sets His love upon the heart of one of His chosen people (Dt 7:7; 1 Pet 2:9), He pours out His love in her heart, when He gives her His Spirit, as a gift (Rom 5:5).
Seeing the beauty of Christ and all of His perfect attributes and perfect works, the Bible-believer rejoices because where she was blind to the glory of Christ, she can now see Him, for who He is in His totality (Jn 1; Col 1; Heb 1; Rev 1; etc.).
The believer, positioned in Christ (1 Cor 1:30), even seated with Him in the heavenlies (Eph 2:6), looks into the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6). The Spirit reveals the Son of man in one place…the Bible. To grow in knowledge of Christ, is to understand, albeit in part, the wisdom of God, in sending His only begotten Son into the world (Jn 3:16), to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21).
Jesus Christ is the icon of God (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 4:4). For us to see God, which no one has ever done, we must see Him in the incarnate Son (Jn 1:14). We are removed by two thousand years from that extraordinary face to face encounter. There is great joy, however, when the Holy Spirit opens our minds that we would see Jesus in the written Word of God. This is the same Word that assures us we will see Him face to face in heaven (Rev 22:4).
God had a purpose in sending Jesus Christ (Eph 3:11). The Father and the Son also have a purpose in sending forth the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity (Jn 14:26; 15:26). It is the Spirit, who removes the veil that blinds our minds from seeing Christ.
The believer knows the Bible is true. He needs no apologist to convince him. He has received the Spirit of God, who put faith in his heart (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29). The indwelling Spirit is the Gift that gives gifts (Eph 4:8). These include faith, hope, and love. It is truth that assures us of God’s motive toward us, in every action, is love (e.g. Eph 1:4–5; Rom 5:5, 8).
The power to see Jesus belongs to the illumined One, the Lord, the giver of life (Jn 6:63; 1 Cor 15:45). Man does not have the will nor the ability to see Jesus in his natural state (Rom 8:7), but if God is willing (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 9:16), then, He is able to make grace abound toward those He has given spiritual eyes (Rom 4:21; 11:23; Heb 7:25; 11:19), in order for them to see Him (Heb 12:2). Only God can override the clever craft of the prince of darkness. Can you see that? You can, if the devil’s veil has been removed by Him.
August 13, 2022