Thursday, 16 July 2015
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 2 Corinthians 4:3
The previous verse spoke of the “hidden things of shame” which Paul and the apostles had renounced. Instead, he spoke of the “manifestation of the truth” which is found in the gospel message. He now writes words which are intended to correct any perceived contradiction. In saying that it is the manifestation of the truth, then how can it be veiled to some? A manifestation implies something that is open and available to all. But there are some who haven’t received it because they are “perishing.”
As he notes, “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” Therefore, there is no contradiction in his words. People must be willing to accept that Jesus is the explanation for, and fulfillment of, all Scripture. If they fail to accept this, then the veil remains (as he noted in the previous chapter). The result for such people is that they “are perishing.” But there is a note of hope even in his words. He uses a present participle for the word “perishing” rather than a past participle. In other words, he doesn’t say, “to those who have perished.” Because of this, it does not exclude hope of the person turning to the Lord and having the veil lifted (Keep praying for your Jewish friends!).
The gospel is the manifestation of the truth and it is available to any who will but receive it – even until their dying breath. Albert Barnes gives a lovely set of examples of comparison for us to consider –
“It is not the fault of the sun when people shut their eyes and will not see it. It is not the fault of a running stream, or a bubbling fountain, if people will not drink of it, but rather choose to die of thirst. The gospel does not obscure and conceal its own glory anymore than the sun does. It is in itself a clear and full revelation of God and his grace; and that glory is adapted to shed light upon the benighted minds of people.”
Life application: Minds are easily dulled and we tend to gravitate towards those things which we prefer, regardless if they are right or wrong. The gospel sets us free from this, and yet until we come to it, the perception is that we will lose all of the things we like in the process. Instead, when we come to Christ, we are enabled to appreciate things in their proper perspective. As we grow closer to Him through His word, what is right becomes increasingly desirable and that which is wrong becomes increasingly undesirable. Truly a veil is lifted in Christ.
Heavenly Father, in turning to Jesus, there is a new love of that which is right and proper. However, unless we continue to study Your word and pursue righteousness, it is so easy to get bogged down in a morally confused state where tolerance rather than obedience is the norm. From there, our religion devolves into acceptance of that which is morally improper once again. I pray that hearts will turn towards You with a desire to seek Your whole counsel as recorded in Scripture. Anything less will certainly result in sadness when we stand before You. Amen.