Let There Be Light!

Categorical rejection often meets the proclamation of the gospel. Over time, this kind of opposition can breed discouragement. Who hasn’t walked away from a slammed door or brusque refusal and wondered why it seems nobody wants to listen?

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul addresses this very problem by pointing out the obvious: God’s mercy in the gospel has reached us! Remembering we are “Exhibit A” of the gospel’s power encourages us not to give up (v. 1).

However, a very real dilemma faces us: should we change our message or our tactics? Many ministries have done this very thing in the vain attempt to avoid the world’s rejection. Paul’s answer could not be stronger. We refuse to deceive our hearers or distort our message. Instead, we clearly and precisely articulate the gospel (v. 2).

But why do unbelievers reject the gospel? Why doesn’t the gospel seem to “work” sometimes? Paul makes clear that the gospel is rejected because of the hearer, not on account of the message or the messenger. The glorious gospel is only hidden to the lost (v. 3). They do not see the life-changing truth of the gospel because they are blind (v. 4)! Imagine leading a blind friend to the rim of the Grand Canyon with your hands over their eyes. When you reach the lookout point, you pull away your hands in a grand flourish and ask them what they think of the canyon’s immense scope and magnificent colors. They, like the unbeliever, cannot appreciate the glory and splendor before them. We can describe it all we want, but what we need is supernatural intervention!

We proclaim the gospel as we praise the glory of Jesus Christ, eternal God who took on humanity, lived a perfect life, and died in our place (v. 5). But our words do not affect the spiritual blindness of a lost person. They cannot see Jesus of Nazareth for anything more than a teacher, a good man, or a prophet.

But when God in his grace sweeps the scales from those blind eyes, the overwhelming brightness of God’s glory dawns on that soul. This marvelous act of God rivals the first moment of human timekeeping when God’s voice thundered, “Let there be light!” Just as light flooded the universe at God’s command (Gen 1:3), so God’s gracious salvation causes the blazing glory of Jesus Christ to dawn on the darkened and unbelieving heart (v. 6).

When we are discouraged by rejection of the gospel, we must remember that we too, once rejected the lordship of Jesus Christ. We strained to no avail to see him with our blind eyes, but when God commanded, “Let there be light,” we basked in the light of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

December 2009

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