Happy Independence Day! We have all heard the saying. Weightlifters know it! “No Pain, No Gain.” “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those that are perishing, in whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those 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 Cor. 4:3-4). Unbelievers are under a spiritual trance, inflicted by the god of this age; the very same god who said to Eve in the garden, “You shall not surely die!” This god “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). This deception is to convince the world that there are no such things as sin and death.
Sigmund Freud said that we all have a touch of mental illness and just need to get well. Our sickness can be cured if we see our local shrink, limit our bad habits, and seek some higher power. The deceiver’s false logic for humanity goes something like this: “We are all ultimately destined to go to heaven, each in his own way. After all, we are not all that bad, and there is at least a spark of good in the worst of us.” If we can just provide the right environment and some outside positive influence, we can all get better and make our world a better place for everyone. All our society needs is just a good cleaning up. Did not Jesus come to motivate us to love one another, and didn’t He tell us to follow His example, and make this a better world?
This is exactly what the god of this age wants Adam’s fallen race to believe. If we never knew our true condition before God, why would we desire to flee to Him? If we never knew what it really means to be wrong, why would we ever want to be right? If we never knew what it was to be in darkness, why would we seek to come to the light? If we never knew that we were spiritually blind, why would we ever want to see? If we never knew the tremendous horror of being spiritually dead in Adam, why would we ever desire life?
The Bible does not say that we are spiritually sick; the Bible says that we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). Jesus said it! Explaining the perils that lay in store for those who chose to follow Him, a young potential disciple asked Jesus to allow him to first go and bury his father. Our Lord’s response is jaw dropping. He said, “Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead” (Matt. 8:22). How do dead people bury dead people? Think a moment about the result of being spiritually dead and at the same time blind to that fact. A spiritually dead man does not “feel” his death any more than a physically dead person would feel a 400-pound weight on his chest. If we felt spiritually separated from God, realizing that we might die in that condition and spend an eternity separated from Him in hell, then there might be a sense of extreme urgency to do something about it. But because of Satan’s veil of blindness, we do not feel dead, nor do we feel any sense of urgency to receive life. Instead, this death in us is like the pain being inflicted by a dentist on our gums that have been deadened by an anesthesia. In the case of the dental profession, anesthesia is good because it deadens the feeling of pain in the gums, and the dentist is free to do his work. A few hours after the procedure, however, this anesthesia wears off, and only then is the pain felt, even though it had been there all the time. The pain of the second death that is born in us is likewise being spiritually anesthetized from our mind.
Little Beverly Smith, born in Akron, Ohio, almost never cried. She never cried when she fell down; she never cried when she bumped her head; she didn’t even cry when she touched her hand on a hot stove. She cried only when she was hungry or sleepy or angry. The doctors discovered that she had a very rare defect of the central nervous system for which there is no cure. She was born with the inability to feel pain. The doctors told her mother that she had to be watched constantly because little Beverly could break a bone and not know it, or she could develop appendicitis and not know it. This is what it must be like to be spiritually dead and not know it.
Tragically, it will take passing through the valley of the shadow of death for many to awaken from this spiritual swoon to the pain of eternal separation from God in hell, but it will be forever too late. Left to ourselves we do not feel threatened, nor do we sense any desire for God’s life because we are spiritually dead. Without God personally scraping the scales of blindness from our eyes, we will remain dead and insensitive to the truth about who we really are (Jn. 6:44;65). We will remain oblivious to His gracious provision in Jesus Christ. God was gracious to provide His law in order for us to understand our spiritual condition before Him, to feel the pain of sin and death, and to be pointed to God’s provision of life in Jesus Christ. Just how does God’s Spirit use His law to remove these scales of blindness from our eyes? More tomorrow. Blessings!