Friday, 17 July 2015
…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2 Corinthians 4:4
The “whose” of this verse are “those who are perishing” of the previous verse. Those who have not received the gospel of Christ are perishing. And the reason for this is that their “minds the god of this age has blinded.” Spiritual darkness is a pall which is found in all people born of man. Sin is an inherited trait and those who have sinned (all of them) are under the power of the devil. Here he is termed “the god of this age.” This is the only time this phrase is used of him, but it corresponds with other such names for him in the Bible, such as –
“The ruler of this world” (John 14:30).
“The prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).
“The wicked one” (1 John 5:19).
These terms, among others, give us varied descriptions of the devil so that we can see his sphere of influence and the characteristics which define him. In this verse, Paul shows that he is in control of the lost during this age until Christ is finished with His complete plan of redemption found in the dispensational model. Eventually he will be cast into the Lake of Fire and a new age will come to pass (Revelation 20:10).
However, during this age he has blinded the eyes of those “who do not believe.” The tense of the Greek for “has blinded” is aorist-indicative-active. This means that he has blinded man in the past (which occurred at the fall of man), but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the blindness continues in the present. In other words, he has blinded the world, but the world can come to see the light through Jesus Christ. Until they do, they remain blind. Jesus alludes to this type of thing in John 9 –
“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’
41 Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.'” (John 9:39-41
The devil has done this, as Paul explains, “lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” Though this is speaking of all who are in Adam, Paul has specifically been speaking of the veil which is over the eyes of the Jews who have failed to see Christ revealed in Scripture. He is giving an explanation of why this is so.
The word he uses for “light” is photismos. It is a special word which is used only here and then again in verse 6. Ellicott notes that the word signifies not merely a purpose, but a result. To understand this, we can think of a person with blinded eyes. When he turns his face to the sun, there is no perception of the sun at all. Not only does he not see the light, but he cannot see the light.
The intent of the Scriptures is to illumine the “glory of Christ.” However, the Jews cannot see this because they have been blinded. God knew that this would occur and thus the dispensation of grace, which is the Church Age, was introduced. During Israel’s time of blindness (Romans 9-11), salvation has come to the Gentiles. Instead of seeing Christ, who is the image of God, they see only darkness.
Finally, the word for “shine” here is augazo. It is only used here in the New Testament and it indicates “to shine forth.” Christ radiates from the Bible just as the sun shines forth at dawn (which is where the root of the word augazo comes from). Paul’s use of this word is described by the Bible scholar Charles Ellicott –
It “…stands as intermediate between the object and the shadow, far plainer than the latter, yet not identical with the former, however adequately representing it.”
In other words, Scripture is not the Lord, but it accurately represents Him. Thus His radiance shines forth from it. However, in eyes which are blinded, there can be no shining forth of this beautiful radiance.
Life application: If you wonder why someone hasn’t come to Christ, this verse may adequately describe their situation. They have been blinded by the devil and they cannot seem Him in Scripture. However, through prayer we have a weapon to overcome this blindness. Never stop praying for the lost!
Heavenly Father, I know that the god of this world, the devil, is the one who blinds people to the truth of Scripture. The life of Christ radiates from it, but when eyes are blind, they cannot perceive His glory. I pray for the lost that I know, desiring that You open the eyes which are blinded so that they can see. I know that through You all things are possible. Open the eyes! Change the hearts! This I pray, O God. Amen.