2 Corinthians 4:3 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.”
Why is this so? Why is the gospel “veiled” to some people?
Long before God gave Moses the 10 commandments, he wrote his law on mankind’s hearts. Sometimes this understanding of God’s will becomes skewed, but all people understand right from wrong in a general way. You can’t say the same thing about the gospel, the good news about what God has done to save us. Paul asked the Romans, “How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” And the answer is: “They can’t.”
But the veil over the gospel is more than this. It is not just ignorance. It is an inborn inability to understand. It is a default setting in the human heart to reject God’s offer of free grace. We are preprogrammed by sin to find the extreme measures our Lord took to save us unbelievable.
The veil over the gospel is so heavy that even within Christian churches it is difficult to maintain the truths it teaches. So a Christian magazine claiming to be biblical and conservative can publish statements like this: “Orthodox Christianity teaches that on the cross Jesus satisfied divine justice by paying the price for human sin….Enough of this outrageous religion which has held millions in bondage….a religion with violence at the heart of its theology…” I can multiply examples many times over. If the Gospel is so veiled to some who claim the name Christian, little wonder that it is veiled to the rest of the world.
What happened? Paul explains, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Don’t misunderstand. “The god of this age,” is not the God of Scripture. This is “god” with a little “g,” a god in name only. This is the chief of the fallen angels, the devil, who holds the majority of this world’s inhabitants under his spell.
He has blinded the minds of unbelievers by creating thousands of competing, false religions, each with its own twist on “We make salvation the old fashioned way. We earn it.” The light of the gospel struggles to shine where faith, forgiveness, and heaven are turned into a “do-it-yourself” project.
He has blinded the minds of unbelievers by creating a class of people who believe themselves so enlightened, so educated, that they don’t need things like faith, forgiveness, or heaven anymore. A so-called “scientific” worldview sees all of that as nothing more than superstition. They follow a “Santa-Claus-Is-Coming-to-Town” theology: “So be good for goodness sake.” Any concern for morality is nothing more than a concern for making our lives here as happy as they can be.
He has blinded the minds of unbelievers by taking control of so much of what passes for entertainment. Movies, television, and music all combine to extol one great worldly virtue that rules them all–my personal pleasure. If God and faith get in the way of the new virtues of making lots of money and complete sexual freedom, then God and faith must be mocked and marginalized. The light of the gospel struggles to shine where people no longer value what it offers.
The god of this age spreads his blindness like a disease. It is catching. We need to bathe ourselves in the light of the gospel long and often. That is the antidote. You know that people who don’t get enough sunlight develop a deficiency in vitamin D, and that can lead to all kinds of other health problems. People who don’t get enough gospel light develop a faith deficiency, and that can lead to even more serious problems. In some cases, it is spiritually fatal.
But God (with a big “G”) has invested his gospel with power (Romans 1:16). He accompanies his gospel with his Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). This gospel is more than accurate information, useful information, saving information that can be learned once and then ignored while we pursue other spiritual truths. It is God’s Spirit-filled, powerful prescription for a chronic spiritual condition. We need our dose on a regular basis. The old revival hymn sings, “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” That story is “the old, old story of Jesus and his love,” the story of Love that carried the weight of our sins to a cross and gave up his life to dispose of them there. It is the story of Love that burst from his tomb alive and victorious and promises eternal life to all who believe.
Hear the story. Come into the light. Get out from under the veil.