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What is spiritual blindness?

Blindness in Scripture is presented and divided into three different categories: physical, judicial, and spiritual. The category that I will be focusing on is spiritual blindness.

The theme of spiritual blindness deals specifically with two types of groups, namely, the unsaved and carnal Christians. In both groups, I will define what their spiritual limitations are and the cure for their blindness.

The Carnal Man

The first group involves the carnal believer. Another word for carnal is “fleshly.” It is the Greek word sarkinos. This refers to one who is made of the flesh, or natural. This would be a believer who lives according to the flesh, not one who lives in the flesh, for we all live in the flesh (compare Gal. 2:20 to Rom. 8:12). This involves the flesh of Adam and all the propensities that we inherited as a result of the fallen Adamic nature of man. Our humanness is one that is selfish and set contrary to the divine will of God.

Until our old Adamic nature is completely eradicated and removed (which will not occur until we are glorified, Rom. 8:18-25) there remains a constant and continuous struggle against the life of Christ and His divine nature that lives within us.

The Corinthian church experienced this type of struggle on a constant basis and was given over to the dominating power and control of the flesh. Consequently, this placed limitations on the Corinthian believer's spiritual ability to comprehend the deep things of God and therefore caused much division in the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 3:3). It also prevented Paul, from being able to speak to them as spiritual mature men, but instead, as men of the flesh. According to Paul, there was no excuse for their spiritual immaturity and infantile behavior (1 Cor. 3:2-3a).

The cure and remedy for these immature "babes in Christ" (who were still stuck on a heavy diet of milk) was to yield more completely to the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and to realize who owned them (1 Cor. 3:16, 23). It demanded a renewal of their attitude and action through the submission of the power of the One who indwelled them.

The Unsaved Man

The second group involves the unsaved or unregenerate man. The spiritual blindness they experience is the result of Satan placing a veil over their minds in relation to the gospel by which they may be saved.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them(2 Cor. 4:3-4)

This passage indicates that Satan possesses power over the unsaved by blinding them through the work of evil forces and false teachers. (see also John 8:44; Eph. 2:1-2; Col. 1:13; 1 John 5:19). The Bible is clear that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” and therefore under a satanically controlled world system dominated by its power.

The blinding of peoples’ minds and hearts only become more hardened through their insensitivity toward God and His ways, their own intentional ignorance, and their rejection of the gospel (Eph. 4:18; 1 Pet. 1:14).

It is worth noting here that Paul did not alter the gospel message in order to make it more seemingly pleasant or acceptable, as his opponents had done (11:4). Rather, he remained faithful to the preaching of the gospel with the realization that if any effort was to deliver the unsaved mind, it must be sufficiently accomplished by lifting the veil which Satan has imposed.

The spiritual limitation of the unsaved is the ultimate limitation, namely, that their mind and understanding are completely darkened and they cannot see the “light of the glorious gospel of Christ” because they do not believe (Rom. 1:21; 2 Cor. 4:4).

The only cure for the unsaved and their wretched blindness is the true enlightenment which comes through salvation in Christ by faith.

This clearly defines the moral character of this evil age in which the church lives, which we have been delivered from (Gal. 1:4) and are not to be conformed to (Rom. 12:2), by the holy calling in which we have in Christ Jesus until God’s divine purpose is complete (Phil. 2:15).


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