2 Corinthians 4:3-4
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, 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.”
A few years ago we purchased a pool table for the kids as a Christmas gift. Because of the size of the table it was not practical to wrap, so we set it up in the middle of the living room, threw a table-cloth over it and set our breakfast on it. Our disguise worked. The kids went about the morning without even noticing there was a huge gift right under their noses.
Paul writes, God has given us the precious gift of eternal life. A gift received by recognizing we are sinners, and placing faith in Christ. A gift that results in having our sins forgiven, being made right with a Holy God, and having our lives transformed from the inside out. This precious gift, that is so easily received, is sitting right in front of everyone, yet many fail to see it. The reason they fail to see it is because the Gospel has been veiled to them by the devil.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe…”
The word veiled, also translated hidden or covered, comes from a word meaning to hide. Webster defines the word veiled as “disguised or obscured by a covering.” God, because of His love for us, sent His Son to make a way for our sins to be forgiven, and to give us eternal life. He placed this message in the hands of His followers, who continue to herald it around the world, in their homes, schools, and places of work or leisure. Even though the death and resurrection of Jesus were public events, the Bible is the greatest selling book of all time, Christians are in every corner of the world, and the Gospel is preached on the airways and internet, still, many fail to see their need for Christ. Paul explains it is because the god of this world (Satan) is blinding their eyes and obscuring the message of Christ.
Just as the ministry of the Christian is to declare the good news of salvation, the ministry of Satan is to obscure it. He desires to cover up the Gospel message, and make it look like something it is not. He has used many different coverings to hide the Gospel. Some have been blinded with pleasure. They think coming to Christ will mean missing out on the real “fun in life.” For others, he uses fear. They are afraid of what will happen to them if they release control of their lives, and put it into the hands of Christ. Still others are blinded with hurt. They have had difficult experiences in life, causing them to question if there really is a God who loves them.
When we look at our friends, loved ones, or our circle of influence, and see those who have yet to receive or surrender to Christ, we must understand it is because their minds have been blinded and the Gospel veiled. Rather than being discouraged or repelled, we ought to pray. Our prayers ought to be specifically for God to remove the blinders from their eyes, so the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ could shine on them.
As you seek to invite your friends to Christ, church, or an outreach event, pray that God would remove the veil, that they might see Christ as He really is, and invite Him to reign in their hearts and lives.
Questions for 2 Corinthians 4
- Serving others in the name of Jesus is something that is not always easy. The enemy, the world, and our own flesh often oppose us. We can easily be discouraged. According to verse 1 and verses 16-18, what things kept Paul from becoming discouraged?
- In verse 2 Paul speaks about living a wide open life for Christ: renouncing sin, turning away from scheming, plainly speaking the word of God, and shining with truth. He was not a “secret” Christian. Why does hiding your Christianity never work?
- In verses 3-4 Paul speaks about Satan as the “god of this world” (see also 1 John 5:19). Even though Paul was living such a vibrant life for Jesus, and even though the gospel was clearly presented, Satan was still in opposition (read John 8:44). In this verse what does he do to stop people from seeing Jesus? Read verse 6 to see how God overcomes this.
- Read verses 5-6. As we seek to communicate the gospel to those who are lost, who the enemy is coming against, we must keep Jesus central. What do we preach and what do we not preach? As we do this, who breaks through the darkness and blindness of those we are trying to reach?
- We are clay pots, easily broken and made of dust. Yet we contain a valuable treasure: the gospel and the Spirit of God. How does knowing this affect how we minister to others? How does it affect how they see God?
- Verses 8-12 speak of a principle in the Christian life: God uses a person who dies to himself and lets God live through him (see Luke 9:23-25). Do you daily lay down your wants and desires at Jesus’ feet and say “not my will but your will, Lord”? According to these verses, how does living this way affect others?
- Read verses 13-15. Paul preached, trusting that God would work. It was risky for him to preach the gospel, and it often cost him. But others were important to him; to him Christianity wasn’t just about getting himself saved, but seeing others saved as well. How much of a priority is it to you to see “grace spread to the many”? If it is not ask God to change your heart today.