(Photo by Johann Siemens on Unsplash)
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 Corinthians 4:4
Have you ever been frustrated because no matter what you say to someone about Jesus, they just don't get it? They may say, "It's fine for you, but that God stuff isn't for me." Or they nod politely, but you know they don't understand what you are saying.
THE UNBELIEVER'S DILEMMA
An unbeliever will not get it. The god of this world (Satan) has blinded their mind so they can't see the light of the Gospel or understand the message of the glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:4). If a person is blind, they can't see.
Picture a tree. You know what it looks like because you can see, and you have seen lots of them. But no matter how many times you show a blind person a tree, they can't see it. You can describe it to them, and they can tell you what you said, but they still don't physically see the tree. So it is with the unbeliever. They hear what you say, but they don't get it; the Gospel makes no sense to them. They can't see:
The light of the Gospel: the Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ who came to earth and lived a perfect life, and then He died on the cross for our sins. Our sin separates us from God because God requires perfection. People are not capable of perfection. They need a Savior to be made right with God and receive the promise of eternal life
The glory of Christ: Jesus has a unique glory all His own because He makes the glory of God visible. Christ's glory makes knowing God possible. Mark Jones, pastor at Faith Vancouver and guest contributor at Desiring God says, "As we cannot behold the sun in its sphere, we can nevertheless behold the sun in a basin of water. Christ is the 'basin' that enables us to behold God’s glory."
THE BELIEVER'S RESPONSE
It is as silly for believers to be angry with unbelievers for not being able to see the light of the Gospel and the glory of Christ as it would be for Christians to be mad at a blind person for being blind. No one does that! Instead, we have compassion. We imagine how challenging life is for them. And we don't expect them to see what they can't.
So why do we tell unbelievers about Jesus if they can't see it? Colin Smith, pastor of Orchard Evangelical Free Church and radio host of Unlocking the Bible, says, "The great mystery of God’s grace is that, through the humble proclamation of the Gospel, God shines his light into human heart. Here is the great paradox of ministry: If we preach what the unbeliever can see, he won’t see. We must preach what the unbeliever can’t see, so that he will see. Jesus said, 'As I am lifted up, I will draw people to myself.' (John 12:32) Not everyone who hears the Gospel will be saved. Some remain in darkness. But God shines his light into human hearts through the Gospel, and it is in this way that people come to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." If you think about it, you'll realize God's grace is why you believe.
Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They can't see or understand the Gospel. When Jesus died on the cross (was lifted up), He drew everyone to Himself. God is the One who makes His light shine in people's hearts so they can see (2 Cor 4:6). If you go to a church that preaches the Gospel of Jesus, invite others to go with you. Some will still reject the light. But I like to think of it this way...the more we share Jesus with others or invite them to church where they will hear the Good News of Christ, the better the chance people have of seeing and responding to Jesus.
A PERSONAL NOTE
Sharing the Gospel is still challenging for me. Inviting people to church is not something I like to do. I figure the more I share the Gospel in my writing and make it a priority in my mind, asking God to change the way I think about sharing the Good News, the better the chance I have of overcoming my fear. I pray that my love for God and people who don't know Jesus will be greater than my fear. Plus, you never know when God might use what I write in the life of an unbeliever. I pray He does.
What am I afraid of? Rejection and offending others mostly but also of not representing Christ well...like if I tell someone about Jesus and then act in an unloving way, I am a hypocrite. Colin Smith says, "The way we live does not affect the truth of the Gospel. A Christian living well does not make the Gospel more true, and a Christian living badly does not make the Gospel less true. But a Christian living well makes the Gospel plausible." The truth of the Gospel is not dependent on my behavior at all. Wanting to represent Jesus is a noble and worthy goal, but letting the fact that I might not represent Him perfectly be a reason for not sharing the Good News is wrong. One other fear I have is of sounding awkward, or of saying the wrong thing. I am pushing back on my fears because I know God did not give me a spirit of fear; He gave me a spirit of love, power, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7). Just today, I had an opportunity to remind someone of the only way to get to heaven. I wasn't sure this person knew. I was afraid, but I opened my mouth, and out it came. Yay God!
Unlocking the Bible: Mind: Christ Changes What You Think (Colin Smith)
Desiring God: Christ's Glory Makes Knowing God Possible (Mark Jones)