August 2018

“9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) is our theme verse for 2018. This month I want to reflect upon the transition God calls us to from darkness to light.
Instead of me trying to “unpack” the transition, listen to the Apostle John’s account found in John 9. (This is one of my favorite pieces of Scripture) John 9:1–2 (ESV) “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (Understand this is a metaphor, the man in John 9 was physically blind as well as spiritual blind at the outset. He overcame both by the grace of God)
Modern thought denies humanity’s birth blindness. The current mindset is that each human is born neutral (no score, “seeing the choisces”). Each choice and decision we make either adds to or subtracts from the starting point. Good deeds add value and bad choices subtract value. So for example a “bad” person man have a -10,000 rating. A really “good” person may have a +100,000 rating. You simply keep track of good and bad choices throughout life. In the next life you are rewarded, the larger the plus amount leads to paradise and the greater the negative score leads to “hell’. We all make our choices and earn our reward in the life to come. An interesting theory with no Biblical basis. In fact the Scripture specifically and directly refutes the essence of the theory.
Scripture asserts that we are born blind. Blindness being a negative condition because we can’t fully appreciate and experience the life God created us to enjoy. We can’t see beauty, truth or righteousness in the world in which we live. We were originally created to enjoy all these things. The Garden of Eden was a magnificent sanctuary of the greatest delight. But we rebelled and chose our own way instead of walking in obedience with God. (See Genesis 3) Separation from Eden and God resulted and we became blind to reality.
Jesus is asked directly who sinned, this man or his parents? The answer is both, as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 3:23 (ESV) “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” The truth is that sin is always at the root of blindness, however that root is deeper and longer than the individual. He was blind not because he did something bad, but because he was human, of Adam’s race. He inherited the blindness. (Please note that in the Scripture the man was both spiritually blind and physically blind. All of us are spiritually blind from birth (that’s the metaphor) but only some are physically blind as well. Jesus healed the man of both spiritual and physical blindness. Jesus heals all who seek him of spiritual blindness but not all physical blindness is healed.)
Here is his testimony after his eyes (spiritual) were opened. 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. John 9:30–34 (ESV) The testimony is amazing and simple, “I was blind, now I see, only God can do this.”
This is what God has called to to proclaim. His excellencies of leading us from darkness (blindness) to light (spiritual understanding). This is the gift of salvation offered in Jesus Christ to a world lost in darkness (caused by sin) and hence blindness. Listen to the Apostle John, 1 John 1:5–7 (ESV) “5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” This is Good News and the excellencies of him who called you out.
Rejoice and be glad.