2 Corinthians 4:3-4
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:…
1. These are awful words — a hidden gospel! a lost soul!
2. The expression "hid," signifies veiled, or covered over. It was probably suggested by the language of the preceding chapter. The will of God, under the Mosaic dispensation, was revealed through types and shadows, but that veil is done away in Christ.
3. But if the gospel be so clear, how is it that so many who hear it continue unenlightened and unbelieving? The answer is, the veil is no longer upon the dispensation, but upon the heart. Bug from whence comes this veil on the heart? The text gives the answer, they are blinded by the devil! Note —
I. THE CHARACTERS SPOKEN OF. They are "lost."
1. What are meant by the lost?
(1) Not those who are now in hell. True, they are lost; but not in the sense in which the term is used in the text.
(2) But to those who are alive now, who are spiritually dead; alive, but perishing. The same expression is made use of, and in the same sense, in Matthew 10:6; Luke 15:4; Luke 19:10. Then, by the lost are meant —
(1) All who have not come to Christ. Coming to Christ is the first step towards salvation.
(2) All the unconverted. I speak thus widely because it embraces every shade and degree of sinner out of Christ.
(3) All unbelievers. "Them which believe not." Now, under this character may be classed —
(a) The unbelieving Jews, who still reject the Lord of glory as their Messiah (John 8:24).
(b) All who do not savingly believe in Christ. There is a vast difference between belief and saving belief. We may believe Christ to be the Saviour of sinners, and yet know nothing of Him as our individual Saviour.
II. THEIR AWFUL CONDITION.
1. "They forsake their own mercies." Awful thought! to exclude oneself from mercy, to reject the only Friend who can extend mercy to us. Jesus seeks the lost.
2. Their ignorance of it. They are like a blind man on the brink of an awful precipice, ignorant of their danger, although the very next step may plunge them into irretrievable ruin, both of body and soul.
3. Abiding wrath, at any moment, may become executed wrath.
III. THE CAUSE OF THEIR AWFUL CONDITION.
1. Who is the person who blinds the minds of them which believe not. "The god of this world" (John 12:31; John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2). The name is given him, not because he has any of the attributes of God, but because he actually has the homage of the men of this world; and though they do not worship him in words, yet they do so practically, by pursuing his plans, yielding to his temptations, and by submitting to his rule. But will Satan be "the god of this world" for ever? No! His time is limited, and he knows it (Revelation 11:15).
2. What is the particular character under which Satan is represented? "The blinder of them which believe not." He blinds —
(1) By not permitting the word to take root in the unbeliever's heart (Mark 4:3, 4, 14, 15).
(2) By producing a disproportionate view of the value of objects. A very small object will obscure the light of the sun; and a very small object will hide from us the light of the Sun of Righteousness. Satan therefore places between the unbelieving and the glory of the gospel the things of a perishing world. We have a remarkable illustration of this in the case of the young man in the gospel, who asked, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"(3) By representing in a false light the effects of the gospel on mankind. He insinuates that to be religious is to be melancholy. This is as false as its author. It is living in sin which causes real unhappiness. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." True, Satan may make sin pleasant now, hiding from the eyes of the perishing its awful consequences; but, too, on the other hand, the gospel is glad tidings of great joy.
(4) By making men love sin. Consequently, they cannot see the beauty of holiness.
3. The design for which Satan blinds the minds of men. "Lest the light of the glorious gospel," etc.
(1) There is implied here that the gospel is God's instrument for the salvation of men. There is not one now in glory who was not saved by means of the gospel, which is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."(2) See now, more especially, Satan's design to hide this gospel from perishing men.
(a) His craftiness. Satan dreads the gospel; he knows that the gospel and himself cannot reign in the same heart; that just as the natural sun scatters the shades of night, so does the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, received into the heart, dispel the darkness in which he has enveloped the soul. Hence he seeks to prevent this light shining into the souls of his victims. He tries to make them believe that there is no devil, no hell.
(b) His hatred. His object is to destroy the soul, and therefore he places every possible obstacle in the way of a sinner's conversion; he hides from him the light of the gospel, that he may perish.
(A. W. Snape, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: