Some people are blinded, by God, beyond remedy.
In other words, there are people, right now, who won’t ever see the truth–no matter how much you pray, fast, preach, and reason. Their eyes have been shut from the truth and they’ll never see it.
Jesus said this in John chapter 12:
“A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”- John 12:35-36
Jesus spoke this to the Jews who had heard His preaching and saw His miracles. These particular Jews had the privilege of seeing and hearing Jesus Himself. Jesus was this light that was with them for only a short while longer. He urged them to ‘walk while they had the light’ and to ‘believe in the light’ that they might become sons of light. Otherwise, the time would come that it would be too late, and they would be overtaken by darkness.
These Jews had a window of grace. The light was there, but they only had a limited amount of time to embrace it. If they didn’t embrace it while they had the chance, the window of opportunity would pass them by. They would be forever enveloped in darkness, blinded from the truth. And, sadly, that’s exactly what happened.
But although [Jesus] had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him…Therefore they could not believe because Isaiah said again, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.” – John 12:37-39
Notice how these verses first say that they ‘did not believe,’ and then, ‘they could not believe,’ because ‘He has blinded their eyes.’ God extends an enormous amount of grace to every person. But there comes a time when God says, “It is enough.” It is at this point that they are forever blinded. They may go on living for quite some time, but they’ll never see the light again. God may use them for an ignoble purpose, but they’ll not see the truth again.
Pharoah is a good example of this. Despite the fact that he saw some of the most amazing miracles ever recorded, he was blinded to the truth. His heart was hardened over and over. How? God hardened it. God said, “I know Pharaoh, that he will not let you go” (Exodus 3:19). Pharaoh rejected the truth. He had his window of grace, just like everyone else. But at a certain point, God said, “It is enough.” Judgment was passed, and Pharaoh was blinded. Then God says, “I will harden his heart, that I may multiply my wonders against him” (Exodus 7:3).
If Pharaoh’s heart had not been hardened, he would have let the people of Israel go much sooner. He may even have became convinced of the truth of the God of Israel. But God blinded him so it wouldn’t happen. He had his chance, and he didn’t take it. Judgment was passed.
God isn’t going to let us see the whole picture before we believe. He will give us plenty evidence enough, but He won’t hold out forever.
Think of it as a man who is dating a woman. The woman is lovely and of good character, perfect wife material. But the man is hesitant to marry her. He’s not sure he wants to give up the single life. He’s not sure he wants to be locked into a relationship. His friends tell him that he’s crazy, that he’ll never find another girl like her. He agrees but still won’t commit. The woman loves him, but she isn’t going to wait forever. Her heart is broken, but she breaks up the relationship and eventually marries another. Time goes by and the man sees her with the other man. They have children together and are living a loving and happy life. He finally realizes that the life he chose was empty and is filled with regret. He could have had her as his wife, but now it was too late.
It’s completely wrong to think that God will hold out for us forever. If the window of grace appears, we must seize it immediately, or, just like the woman was married and it was too late, so we will be blinded, and it will be too late. It won’t be till we die and see a glimpse of the heaven we will never have that we too will be filled with terrible regret. When the Holy Spirit calls we’d better answer. For many are called but few are chosen.
Another example of this would be the people of Judah, who turned away from God so thoroughly in the days of king Manasseh. Manasseh led the people into every kind of idolatrous evil, even to the point of sacrificing their own children in the fire. God sent His prophets to rebuke them, but they despised their words. Eventually it got to the place where God said, ‘it is enough.’ God told Jeremiah to stop praying for the people of Judah, because it was too late (Jeremiah 11:14). Judgement was set. Years later, when king Zedekiah finally saw that judgement really was coming, he sent to Jeremiah, asking God for help against Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who was coming against them. But it was too late. Look at God’s response:
Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon… I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger and fury and great wrath.” – Jeremiah 21:4-5
All this is important to understand, not only for your own sake, but also because you’re going to come across people in your life that will be completely blinded in this way. You may get frustrated with such people, because what is obvious to you is not to them. You can look and see God in nature, but they don’t. You can understand that God exists by simple reason, but they won’t have it. It’s possible that they’ve been blinded and they won’t ever see it.
When this blinding happens in a person’s life, God only knows. For some it may be while they are still young; others may have the window of grace open their entire life. It’s all according to the amount of light that they have received. So we should always pray and preach. But when some people don’t see it, would shouldn’t become frustrated with them. It may be that they can’t see it.
The Great Darkness
Jesus’ words in John 12 apply to us individually, but there is another meaning. There is coming upon this world a great darkness, a great time of trouble. The time of God’s grace for the earth will end, and the time of His judgment will come. It will come for both the world and for the apostate church. It will a terrible time, when men will wish for death because of their anguish, but won’t find it. The wrath of God will be poured out in full measure upon the earth, and if God hadn’t decided to cut it short, no one would survive. It will be a time of great trouble. So great as the world has never seen before, and will never see again. Great plagues will be poured out upon mankind. Death and Terror will reign supreme. The saints of God will be overcome and killed, and the people of the world will taste the fierceness of the wine of God’s wrath.
The window is open now to escape that time of God’s wrath, but it won’t be open forever. Those who cling to Jesus now will escape that time of suffering. But we must not wait. We must walk while we have the light. We must believe in the light while we have the light, that we would be sons of light. Don’t wait, for the time is coming when it will be too late.
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