|Volume 22 Number 6 August 2020||
Being spiritually blind is a great, eternal tragedy, and I feel certain that most people reading this would immediately proclaim that they are not spiritually blind. Hopefully, that is true; however, we should not be so quick to assert such a statement.
For one thing, we must realize that at one time we were all spiritually blind. Before we surrendered our lives in faith to Jesus, all of us were lost in sin. Paul declared in Ephesians 5:8, “for you were once darkness…” Scripture associates sin with darkness. When we are walking in physical darkness, we are in effect blind because we cannot see obstacles in our way. Similarly, when we are walking in sin, we are in darkness and are spiritually blind. All of mankind eventually chooses to sin against God and becomes spiritually blind. Paul affirmed this spiritual truth when he wrote, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Yes, it is a great tragedy to be spiritually blind; however, we also need to realize that Christ came to deliver us from such a state. Part of Ephesians 5:8 was mentioned earlier, but Paul continued in the same verse, “… but now you are light in the Lord.” Yes, we were all once in darkness, but we do not have to continue in darkness. We can become light by following the light of the world, Jesus Christ (John 9:5). Jesus made that statement and then proved it by giving physical sight to a man that had been born blind. Jesus came to earth to deliver us from the power of darkness. Paul declared that Jesus came to earth “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). Only Christ can give us sight, and until we submit by faith to Him in baptism for the remission of our sins (Mark 16:16), we will remain spiritually blind.
Yet, there is one more thing we must consider. We may have done that in the past but are spiritually blind. In Revelation 3:14-22, we find a letter written to the church in Laodicea. Verse 17 states that those Christians did not know that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Notice that these Christians were said to be blind. Obviously, they were not physically blind. They were not spiritually blind because they no longer believed in Jesus or were living such wicked lives. They were blind because they were lukewarm (3:16); they were no longer fully committed to Jesus. Unfortunately, I believe there are many Christians today in a similar situation. Due to the stresses and temptations of life, they are no longer fully committed to Christ and have become lukewarm and are, in effect, blind.
Sadly, multitudes of people today do not realize they are blind; yet, many others choose to remain blind. No one would choose to remain physically blind if the alternative were available. We might wonder why anyone would choose to remain blind. There might be several reasons, but briefly let us notice three.
Firstly, some choose to remain blind due to fear. The parents of the blind man in John 9 were asked why their son could now see (9:19). They knew who had made it possible for their son to see, but they were afraid to confess that because they feared the Jews (9:22). They were afraid of what the religious leaders would do to them. Thus, they remained spiritually blind due to fear. Similarly, many today believe the truth about Jesus, but they are afraid of what others may think or say about their faith, and so, they never do anything about it. Their faith is dead or worthless (James 2:26), and they remain spiritually blind.
Secondly, some choose to remain blind because of their allegiance to their religious leaders. After this blind man was healed, we would think that crowds of other sick and blind people would be brought to Jesus, but we do not read of such actions. Instead, we find that the friends and neighbors of the blind man brought him to the Pharisees (9:8, 13). Instead of rejoicing that a blind man had been made to see (something which had never happened before the coming of Jesus, 9:32), they were critical because it was done on the Sabbath Day. In effect, these people brought this man to their religious leaders and asked them to solve the situation for them. These men had the power and were supposed to have all the answers. It seems they were not going to believe or do anything until their religious leaders approved them.
Masses of people are living in a similar situation today. They are following some religious leader or group, and they are not going to change their beliefs. Unfortunately, many attempt to justify such a lifestyle by asserting that if one is sincerely following a certain belief system, then surely God would save him despite his error. Jesus clearly pointed out the foolishness of such a life in Matthew 15:14. “They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” We must be sure we are following the true teachings of God as revealed in Scripture rather than the teachings of man (Matthew 15:7-9).
Thirdly, many people remain blind due to pride. The religious leaders of John 9 are examples of this distressing situation. They were facing a miracle that confirmed the deity of Jesus. They could not deny the miracle, but they could not accept the evident conclusion either. They claimed to be the only ones who could see, but in actuality, they were blind. Because of their pride and position in life, they refused to accept the plain truth as articulated by the blind man (John 9:30-34). They ridiculed this man and threw him out of the synagogue. They thought he could teach them nothing of a spiritual nature.
Likewise, multitudes today are living in a similar condition. Many are prideful of their education, social prominence or other things and refuse to seriously consider biblical teachings. Even in the church, some look down on others of lesser educational attainments and sometimes consider their religious views as not worthy of serious consideration. I have heard people say, “I am satisfied with my life!” They are satisfied with whatever situation in which they are and refuse to even consider an alternative belief. They are like the religious leaders of John 9 as described by Jesus in verse 41. “…But now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” Isaiah pictured the sad condition of such people in Isaiah 5:21, which reads, “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!”
The miracle in John 9 reminds us of the danger of spiritual blindness. It is easy to say, “I see,” even while being blind. There is no shame in being blind; the only shame is in remaining spiritually blind. Let us always reflect on our lives and be sure that we can truly see spiritually.