Opening Our Eyes
The Sonshine by Walter Olsen, April 1, 2018
One of the greatest blessings of life is the blessing of being able to see with our physical eyes. God has made so many beautiful things and what a blessing to see what He has created! Being able to see green grass, blue skies, beautiful flowers, the faces of family and friends and a multitude of other things is a blessing beyond description. Unfortunately, we sometimes see things every day without considering the source of such blessings. We often just take for granted our ability to see. Every day we should be mindful of the wonderful blessings God has given to us.
While physical sight is an astounding blessing, there is an even greater blessing and that is the blessing to see spiritually. The only alternative is spiritual blindness, not being able to comprehend spiritual truth. The Apostle Paul spoke of this when he said, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them…For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 4:3-4,6).
Most of the world lies in spiritual darkness, blinded to the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
When physical sight is given or restored, the results are awesome! There is great cause for rejoicing. Even so, when spiritual sight is given to the believer, there is great cause for rejoicing!
The purpose of this study is to consider some of the things the new believer is enabled to see. Keep in mind, the sight we are talking about here is the sight that only God Himself can give. Such sight is not given on the basis of intellect, much study, or longevity of life.
Some of the things God enables the new believer to see, then, are the following:
The reality of self. Until one comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he usually has a high regard for self. He sees himself as righteous, having no need for the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Many think they can make their own way through life without the help of God. Some, of course, pursue a religion, but if what they pursue is not of God, it only adds to the blindness. Jesus, in rebuking the Scribes and Pharisees, said, “…every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them both alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:13-14).
Thus, an unsaved man does not see his need for God. He may have a general belief in the existence of God, but that is not salvation. One does not see his need of a personal Savior until he is convicted by the Holy Spirit of his personal need. It is only then that he sees himself a sinner in need of a Savior. Jesus, in speaking of the giving of the Holy Spirit said, “And when He is come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16:8). It is when a person has been convicted of his own sin that he turns to the Lord Jesus for salvation.
Then, too, in seeing oneself as a sinner, he begins to see sin for what it really is, that which in every way is abhorrent to God. Sin is not just a mistake, something to be made light of, but that which God the Father sent His Son to the cross to die for! Sin never forgiven is that which will cmomit men to the eternal judgment of God!
To the believer, Paul gives the following advice, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3).
The existence and reality of God. Much of the unsaved world makes no place for God. He is replaced by such things as the theory of evolution, the “wisdom” of men, or many other and lesser gods. When one comes to faith in Jesus Christ, he comes because God has been made real to him by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, that makes God real. (Of course, He is real whether men believe or not).
God does not really explain His reality as such, but He reveals it in many different ways. In the beginning of the Bible, God does not explain His existence, but simply says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). To Moses, God revealed Himself in the burning bush. Believers simply take God at His word as in the following, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (Jn. 1:1-3).
The reality of God really begins with the revelation of our own sin. When we are convicted of our sins, we begin to see our need for a Savior. In the Bible we read of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that He loved us, and came willingly to earth to become a man and to die in our place for our sin. When we trust Him to save us, He makes Himself real to us by His Spirit and the word of God. Thus, when one is born again, as in Jn. 3:3, he begins to see the reality of God.
Just to be clear, one does not come to know God or His existence just by attending a church, regardless of the kind of church. Men, in and of themselves, do not reveal God. Religious observances, in and of themselves, do not reveal God regardless of the various appeals made to God. I fear many people sit in churches who have never come to faith in Christ. They have never seen themselves as sinners and thus the Gospel has no real relevance to them! They may hope for heaven, but their hope is based on their own efforts. False assumptions are very dangerous! When it comes to the salvation of our souls, we must be clear! There is no salvation apart from personally coming to Jesus Christ, seeking His forgiveness!
The reality of the cross. For many, the cross is no more than a piece of jewelry. It may be intended to be an identification with Christianity, but of itself is meaningless. If it truly represent the work of God in one’s life, however, the meaning can be different.
The reality of the cross must be seen in the need for the cross. The cross represents all the sins of mankind! Not only so, but it represents our own personal sin! If I don’t see or comprehend my own sin, the cross has little significance for me. It is simply a symbol of a religion. However, when I accept God’s estimation of my standing before Him, everything changes. By God’s grace and Spirit, we accept the truth proclaimed by God, “…for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:9-12).
To understand our position before God before salvation we must include ourselves in the above statement about mankind. We are all sinners in need of a Savior! There are no exceptions. When we see that it is only Jesus Christ who can save us by His death on the cross, we begin to see our need for the cross. The cross is no longer just a symbol of Christianity, but it is the essential fact of Christianity!
The reality of the world system as being distinct from Christianity. The world system is that part of mankind that does not include any place for a crucified and risen Savior. It includes no place for the truth of God as recorded in the Bible except maybe as an academic pursuit or as a book to ridicule.
Christianity is the outcome of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His subsequent indwelling of those who trust Him as their Savior. The basis of their belief and experience is the revealed truth of God in the Bible. Thus, the Bible is not just another book about religion, but the very revelation of the eternal, living God.
The world system does not see spiritual distinctions; that is, they do not discern internal spiritual differences. They may see and know that believers are different, but they do not really know why because they have not experienced the work of Christ in their own hearts.
When one comes to Christ for the forgiveness of sins, he begins to see the difference between the saved and the unsaved, between what is of God and what is of man. What is of God is righteous and true. What is of man is of no spiritual value. It is thus that the believer comprehends the truth spoken by the Apostle John, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I Jn. 2:15-16).
The conclusion of the matter is very significant, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever” (I Jn. 2:17).
In many ways, what one comprehends of the world system defines his life. Unfortunately, many believers fail to comprehend the difference and its significance. As a result, they live their lives as a typical unbeliever would. Further, they fail to enter into the real significance and joy of the Christian life. The Christian life is not meant to be a compromise with the world, but a separation from it.
The reality of what has real meaning and significance in life. Before coming to Christ for salvation, one’s focus and ambition is directed toward what will bring him the most satisfaction in life as he understands it. Because he has no spiritual discernment, he does not see the difference between what is of the world and what is of Christ. Thus, his choices are of the world and not of God. It should be noted that just joining a church or involvement in some kind of religion does not of itself bring about spiritual perception. Spiritual perception is a work of God in one’s life as he seeks and obeys the truth of God as revealed in the Bible. It is the Spirit of God making the word of God a reality in one’s life. Spiritual perception, then, is not a matter of what and how much knows, but of his being yielded to God.
The Apostle John reminds us, “Howbeit when He, The Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth…(Jn. 16:13). Consider Paul’s admonition, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Jesus Himself said to His disciples, “…Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek Me, not because you saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed” (Jn. 6:26-27).
The reality of eternity. Eternity is a hard thing to grasp because there is nothing to compare it with. Everything we know in life has an ending. Buildings crumble, kingdoms come to an end, plants, animals and men all die. To some degree, we get accustomed to that. But for something to last for all eternity, time without end, is hard to imagine. However, because we accept the Bible as the word of the eternal God, we accept His revealed truth regarding eternity. Two truths of eternity are especially pertinent to our discussion in this article.
First, there is the truth of an eternal place of judgment for all who reject Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The Bible calls this place hell. Many verses in the Bible refer to the place, but we only note a couple. Jesus said, “…I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yes, I say unto you, fear Him” (Luke 12:5). In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus said, “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy unto me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke16:22-24).
In connection with the White Throne Judgment, the apostle John said, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14015).
Now, I know the subject of hell is shunned by many today. The thought of it is too horrible to contemplate. However, since Jesus Himself spoke of it, how can we do anything but believe it? We can say we don’t believe it, or try to ignore it, but that doesn’t change the truth of it! The point of this article is that, when our eyes are opened by God, we begin to see truth as He has presented it. Before salvation, the subject of hell did not figure into our thoughts, but upon hearing the word of God and believing it because of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we receive all the Bible as the word of God.
Secondly, there is the truth of heaven. This is a much more pleasant subject to contemplate. Many people, even those who don’t believe the Bible, have a hope of going to a place called heaven. However, if what they think is not of God, it is but a figment of the imagination!
The good news is, the Bible speaks of heaven, a place where all saved people will one day go. The teaching of the Bible about heaven is not a figment of mans’ thinking! It is a blessed reality conveyed in many places in the Bible. A very comforting verse about heaven is the following, “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence we also look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). Of course, the book of Revelation has much to say about heaven as well.
Being able to see physically is such a wonderful blessing! Being able to see spiritually is even a greater blessing! Without spiritual sight granted by the truth of the Bible and the Holy Spirit, we wonder through life aimlessly as far as any spiritual reality is concerned. Without spiritual sight we miss the wonders of who God is, what He has done, and what He will do for all eternity. Indeed, we miss what God has meant life to be all about. To receive such sight, we need only to come in faith to Jesus Christ, acknowledging that we are sinners and seeking His forgiveness. The promise of God is, “…him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6:37.
March has been a very busy but a very good month. We were privileged in our church to have Dr. Jerry Benjamin as a special speaker in our church on March 11th. Dr. Benjamin is a very knowledgeable student of the Bible as represented by his preaching. His emphasis is the Person and presence of Jesus Christ in the life of the believer. It is a message so much needed in all of our lives today.
BJ had the metal plate taken out of her wrist on Thursday, March 15th. We thought it might be earlier, but at least now it is done. She is doing quite well, but still has only partial use of her right hand. She observes, “I have become the household helper.”
We saw five Robins a few days ago! Spring can’t be far away. I can hardly remember a winter with so many very cold days, tough I’m sure there have been some. Thank God for the grace to continue on in spite of some difficulties. Indeed, His grace is ever sufficient for all our needs!
If you would like to add anyone to our mailing list, please give me their names and addresses. There is no charge. We can send The Sonshine either by regular mail or by email, whichever you prefer.