The Unbelievers’ ‘Double Whammy’

Posted on August 8, 2019

7


By David Ettinger

Insightful Passage
When considering why believers face such an uphill battle when sharing the Gospel, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 is insightful: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Let’s examine.

The Natural State
The apostle Paul ended chapter 3 by pointing out how the message of the Gospel is veiled from, first, the Jewish people as a whole, but also from all unbelievers. This is the natural state of the human race. In other words, human beings are born separated from God:

  • Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
  • Ephesians 2:3: “All of us also lived among them [unbelievers] at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
  • John 3:3: “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’”

The point is that we came into the world with sinful natures; we didn’t have to do anything to cultivate our sinfulness. This is why Jesus tells us we must be “born again” – that is, experience a spiritual rebirth where we can gain forgiveness from our naturally sinful states.

Paul elaborates on this in Colossians 1:21: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Likewise, he writes in Romans 8:7: “The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

So, the first “whammy” against all people is that we are born with natures opposed to God. Yet, believers have overcome this innate condition by accepting the deity and saving grace of Jesus Christ. But most people have not, why is this?

The Second Whammy
This is where 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 comes in: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

For most unbelievers, it is enough they were born hostile to God. However, making matters worse is that Satan has taken an active part in their lives for the negative, blinding their minds to the Gospel, blocking it from penetrating their souls.

Satan can do this because, as verse 3 says, he is “the God of this age,” meaning God has given him limited dominion over unbelievers during this current age. Apparently, God has given Satan the ability to obscure the acceptance of the Gospel from a large swathe of humanity.

This does not mean unbelievers cannot intellectually understand the basic message of the Gospel, that all people are born sinners, are deserving of death, but that Jesus has died to take away our sins. This is comprehensible. What they stumble over is how they process the Gospel. Whereas believers, though born in sin, have had the veil lifted from their eyes and can thereby love and embrace the Gospel, believers reject it, viewing it as foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18).

In other words, though believers and unbelievers were both born with the same sin nature, God has not allowed believers to be blinded to the Gospel by Satan, whereas he has permitted other unbelievers to be blinded by “god of this age.”

Pray for Clarity
We have no idea why God has chosen some and not others; we can only accept it as God’s “strange work” (Isaiah 28:1). Therefore, we must pray for those who are living under the weight of their “double whammy” – 1. sinners by nature, and 2. having this condition compounded by Satan’s active blinding of their minds and hearts.

May God give clarity to the spiritually blind that they may embrace the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!