“The Wiles of the Devil” series (post #17)
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, N.K.J.V.)
In the previous post, we learned that Satan steals the gospel from the hearts of some lost people before they can use it to place saving belief in Jesus. Here now in today’s passage we find another method he uses to keep people lost. He blinds them — not physically but spiritually — so that the light of the gospel cannot shine on them. This is the barrier those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as Savior are forced to overcome.
And how does Satan do this blinding? He does it through the world system he has created. This explains why he is referred to in our text passage as “the god of this age.” The Greek word translated here as “age” (“world” in the K.J.V.) is aion, which refers to an indefinite period of time. It is different from the Greek word kosmos, which is more commonly translated as “age” (“world” in the K.J.V.) and refers to an order, arrangement, or adornment that creates an organized system. However, both words can be used to express the same idea. For example, Paul uses both in 1 Corinthians 3:18-19, where he writes:
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age (aion), let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world (kosmos) is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness.” (N.K.J.V.)
The point is that Satan is the god of not only the indefinite period of time in which our current world system exists but also the system itself. Even Jesus called him “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11, N.K.J.V.). Likewise Paul called him “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2, N.I.V.), and John called him “the wicked one” under whom “the whole world lies under the sway” (1 John 5:19, N.K.J.V.).
Many years ago walk-through funhouses were popular attractions at carnivals and amusement parks. These funhouses featured mazes, distortion mirrors, moving floors, air jets that shot up from the floors, pits filled with balls, etc. Well, going all the way back to Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden of Eden, life on planet earth has been Satan’s funhouse, and he’s had plenty of time to get it organized and systematized to make it highly effective in keeping lost peoples’ minds blinded to the gospel of Christ.
A man won’t truly see the gospel as long as his entire focus is on conquering the maze of becoming wealthy. A woman won’t see it as long as she is looking in the distortion mirror of the priorities of being a “modern woman.” A teenager won’t see it as long as his or her mission in life is to navigate the moving floors of high school, college, and finding a career path. An athlete won’t see it as long as he is consumed with the fanatical drive to be the best at his sport. A celebrity won’t see it as long as she is worshiping at the altar of fame.
Of course these are just a few examples of the scores of mind-consuming, gospel-blinding tricks that Satan has built into his world funhouse. The funhouse holds many more. Commentator William MacDonald writes:
In our physical universe, the sun is always shining. We do not always see it, but the reason for that is that something has come between the sun and us. So it is with the gospel. The light of the gospel is always shining. God is always seeking to shine into the hearts of men. But Satan puts various barriers between unbelievers and God. It may be the cloud of pride, or of rebellion, or of self-righteousness, or any one of a hundred other things. But all of these serve effectively to hinder the light of the gospel from shining in. Satan simply does not want men to be saved.
We might ask, “In the midst of this Satanic funhouse, how can anyone get saved?” The answer is: through God the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can cut through the spiritual blindness and allow the light of the gospel to shine into the eyes of lost unbelievers. We Christians can share the gospel by way of sermons, books, articles, videos, tracts, church websites, blog sites, podcasts, television, radio, and any other way we can name, but if our evangelism isn’t touched by the power of the anointing of God the Holy Spirit, no true salvation experiences will come from it all. This is the kind of thing Paul was talking about when he wrote:
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14, N.K.J.V.)
Tragically, the “end game” of Satan’s funhouse and the spiritual blindness it produces is the lost person eternally “perishing.” The individual currently lives day in and day out in the throes of this perishing, and at the moment of his or her physical death the perishing will be finalized. In its final stage, the perishing will equate to him or her spending all eternity in that place the Bible calls “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).
But hear me well when I say, “THE PERISHING DOESN’T HAVE TO REACH THIS FINAL STAGE!” As Jesus says in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (N.I.V.)
You see, spiritual blindness doesn’t have to be permanent. It doesn’t have to seal your eternal fate. Even in the midst of this Satanic era and world system, the glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ is beaming down through the roof of the funhouse and God the Holy Spirit is cutting through peoples’ blindness. Despite Satan’s best efforts, people are still hearing the gospel every day and getting saved by believing in Jesus as Savior. It is for this reason that we Christians must continue to share the gospel with a lost and dying population who are wandering around hopelessly inside Satan’s funhouse. No, they won’t all get saved, but thank God, some of them will.