Robert C. Oliver Contributing columnist
December 27, 2013
In the previous article written (Sampson Independent, 12/20/13) we noted that there are some spiritual equivalents to many of our physical illnesses and diseases. We discussed in that article the audio problems that many have. In this article we wish to examine another physical illness for which there is a spiritual equivalent. And, as mentioned in that last article, these spiritual illnesses are far worse, for they have eternal repercussions rather than temporal ones (Mark 8:36).
Many suffer from some form of vision problems. Some are far sighted, some are near sighted. Some are color blind and some are completely blind. Glasses or contact lenses, laser surgery and other devices and treatments are used to help many with their vision problems. But, spiritual blindness is far worse. It is really blindness of the heart rather than blindness of the eyes. After having striven to stamp out Christianity, Paul while in route to Damascus to do the same, was interrupted in his efforts by the Lord (Acts 9:1-4). Paul left that location and continued on to Damascus physically blind, yet he could then see spiritually things to which he had previously been blind. He could see that he had been on the wrong side. He could see that Jesus was indeed the Lord, and he could see that he was in need of salvation.
Many today are voluntarily blind spiritually. Jesus quoted Isaiah the prophet saying, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15). Notice their blindness was because they had closed their eyes. Notice also the connection of spiritual blindness to the spiritual heart. Spiritual blindness is an absence of the gospel in the heart. Paul wrote, “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” (II Cor. 4:3-4). The prophet Isaiah had written in the long ago that the Lord would come to make the spiritually blind able to see (Isa. 42:7).
While physically blind, Paul could spiritually see that salvation was in Christ. So many today blindly follow those who teach one can have salvation without ever getting into Christ. How so, one might ask? By teaching that one does not have to be baptized in order to be saved. Paul later wrote the letter to the Romans, wherein he said, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death” (Rom. 6:3)? And to the Galatians he wrote, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). When Ananias went to Paul as he sat blind, praying and fasting and restored his physical sight and Paul then obeyed what his spiritual sight had seen. He was baptized into Christ. (Acts 9:18).
When the Lord first spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul saw who he should be listening to. As a Jew, he had been listening to the Old Law of Moses and to the High Priest. But, recognizing that Jesus was the Lord, he asked what He would have him to do (Acts 9:6). Many today blindly follow the wrong source of authority. Some follow tradition. In other words, its the religion they grew up with and their family have been a part of for years. As noted, if Saul of Tarsus had followed tradition, there would never have been an apostle Paul. Jesus said, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Others follow whatever the preacher says. The problem with this is, not all preachers are preaching the truth. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). Another statement of Jesus on this is, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14). Still others follow their own personal beliefs or opinions. To this we might recall the words of Solomon, when he wrote, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Keep in mind, the Lord’s way and our way is not the same (Isa. 55:8-9). And finally, others follow their feelings. Feelings certainly are not a very good source of authority. Feelings can easily be misled by false information. For instance, Jacob mourned the loss of his son Joseph after being presented with Joseph’s coat of many colors (Gen. 37:31-35). He truly felt the loss of his dear son. However, he had been misled and his son was not dead, but alive and well in Egypt. Spiritual blindness is a terrible and destructive illness. Without cure, it will lead one to eternal damnation. Fortunately, the is a cure. Study the word of God (II Tim. 2:15).
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)