“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant,
that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.”
2 Corinthians 3:14 (ESV)
In one of my favorite Mythbusters episodes, Jamie and Adam test whether or not it is possible to walk, swim, and drive in a straight line while blindfolded.
What I found fascinating about this was how they both thought they were walking, and swimming, in a straight line. Neither had any idea just how off course they had gotten, that they were walking/swimming in circles. In fact, Jamie was quite certain he was almost across the water, he felt he had been swimming pretty straight, when in fact the GPS mapping revealed the truth, he was nowhere near his destination.
The funny thing is, this show reveals a gospel truth:
Those who are lost never really know it until they have been found.
Ephesians 4:18 tells us that apart from Christ we “are darkened in [our] understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in [us], due to [our] hardness of heart.” Like wearing the dark glasses used in Mythbusters, we go through this life blind to the glory of God, the disaster of our sinfulness, and our desperate need for salvation. We feel like we’re heading in the right direction, never realizing how far off course our lives have gotten. We know that there are bad things that happen in this world, and even that we make mistakes from time to time; but in our blindness, it is inconceivable that we’ve been heading in the wrong direction, swimming in circles through this journey of life. We think we are alive, heading toward the shore; when in reality, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, blind to the truth of God’s Word, immune to the love of Christ. In other words, we are utterly, completely, and desperately lost.
The good news is, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus came preaching the gospel to those who dwelled in darkness (Mat 4:13-17). He healed the blind, restoring their vision, but he also opened the eyes of the heart (Eph 1:17-18). In His grace, the Spirit of God comes and removes from us the blinders of sins darkness, showing us how far from God’s glory we have fallen (Rom 3:23), but also revealing the grace and mercy of the cross. If you have come to know and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, know that it is only because He has first loved you, and that God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col 1:13)
The question remains, though, how do we interact with those who still dwell in darkness? Countless hours have been spent in frustrating debate with those who refuse to acknowledge the truth of God’s word and their need for a savior. We long for their salvation, but cannot find the words that will “win the battle.”
Remember, it is God who reveals wisdom, and it is God who opens hearts and minds (Mat 11:25; 1 Cor 1:21; 2:14-15) and in Christ the veil that blinds us is taken away (2 Cor 3:14-16). If you are dealing with someone who is blinded to the truth of God, pray. Pray that God would remove the veil, that God would expose their sinfulness, that God would convict them of their brokenness, so that they might run to their savior, Jesus Christ.
While praying, remember also to live in such a way that the world may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Mat 5:16). We have been called out of the darkness that we might be the light of the world, shining the light and goodness of Christ into a darkened world. The people around us are stumbling and bumbling in the darkness, but our lives of faith and loving service should break through the darkness.
Finally, have hope. John’s gospel tells us that in Jesus “was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). There is no darkness that is too dark that the light of Christ does not shine forth. There is no soul so stained with sin that the blood of Christ cannot wash and make it new. Jesus has overcome the world, take heart, have hope!