TO CHEW ON: "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6
My husband, though raised in a Christian home, accepted the Lord as an adult. He tells of a time before he made that decision when his dad sent him modern version after modern version of the Bible, hoping that maybe this one would be modern enough, clear enough, in language relatable enough for his son to read and understand.
It never happened that way. Hubby said he'd read a bit, it wouldn't make sense and another Bible would sit unread, gathering dust on a shelf. The book seemed irrelevant to his life until the day he made the decision to believe and commit his life to Jesus (the rest of the story here). After that, he couldn't get enough of the Bible. What made the difference?
Paul talks here and in the previous chapter about a veil being over hearts and minds. It's an image that hearkens back to the Jewish leader Moses in the wilderness. After he spent time with God, his face shone with God's glory so brightly that he covered it with a veil until the glory faded (Exodus 34:29-35).
That veil over minds and hearts, hiding God's complete revelation, is still there for those who don't see Christ in their reading of the Old Testament, Paul says, but it's taken away in Christ. That is, the Old Testament scriptures come alive when the fulfillment of their prophecies and types is seen in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:13-16).
Paul refers to this veiled understanding again in 2 Corinthians 4 (our reading) when he says that the gospel is "…veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded" - 2 Corinthians 4:3,4.
So we see that understanding is veiled not only of the Hebrew readers of the Old Testament but of all in the realm of "the god of this world." That would be all of us living in the realm of Satan who "...strongly influences this fallen, evil world that continues until the time Christ returns" - Reformation Study Bible.
So how does the light get in? More from the Reformation Study Bible notes: "… unbelievers cannot appreciate or fully understand the claims of the gospel unless God through the gospel enlightens them."
God has to do it—bring about that light of understanding. Just as He created physical light at creation, so He causes the understanding of spiritual light in our hearts:
"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6
This has implications for all of us praying for and talking to unsaved family members, friends, and neighbors. For we see that in the end, it's not more modern Bible translations, clearer explanations of the gospel, or winning arguments that will open minds and hearts but God in His grace pulling back that veil, shining the light of understanding into them.
PRAYER: Dear God, as I interact with and pray for unsaved people around me, help me to remember that You are the one who opens eyes. Please remove this veil from hearts and minds. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.