Posted by: missionventureministries | April 30, 2020

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SPIRITUALLY BLIND AND DEAD? – 1 Corinthians 2:14

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:14) 

Scripture gives us a clear understanding of what it means to be spiritually blind and dead. 

A spiritually dead person does not love God and cannot please God (Romans 8:8). If fact, they want to please themselves, not God (Philippians 2:21). Like the Pharisees, they may appear to perform good deeds from an external perspective in that their deeds conform to the letter of the law. However, Jesus told them that the spiritually dead can look nice on the outside but inside be filled with death and everything unclean; and, even though on the outside spiritually dead people appear as righteous on the inside they are full of hypocrisy and wickedness, and He called them blind guides and blind Pharisee! (Matthew 23:24–28). 

Paul told the Ephesians church:  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). 

Here Paul described three marks of those that are spiritually dead. 

  1. They followed the ways of this world. This refers to the world’s immoral lifestyles and godless motives. People who live like the rest of the world cannot be followers of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:2). 
  1. They follow the ruler of the kingdom of the air; who is Satan and are those who have not surrendered to God. They are strengthened and energized by the power of evil and live in constant rebellion and opposition to God. 
  1. They are enslaved to “gratifying the cravings of the flesh” (Ephesians 2:3). 

In his letter to Timothy, Paul outlines a great number of distinctive characteristics of those who are spiritually blind and dead: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:2-5). 

When a person is spiritually dead and blind they can’t see Christ because they have hardened their heart and won’t come to the knowledge of the truth. 

Spiritual blindness is the evidence that when biblical truths are being preached to false or carnal Christians, they still find excuses for their sin and rebellion. Jesus stated; “blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Those who are pure in heart will see God working in our world and ruling our world, and they will see God and the Savior through out all of eternity. 

Have you ever wondered why people listen to the Gospel of Christ, but never repent, change and trust in Christ? 

Many times you might feel like saying: “If you really are listening, then pay attention to God’s message.” Don’t you understand that “because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed?  God “will repay each person according to what they have done” (Romans 2:5-6). 

However, the man without the Spirit doesn’t want the things of God because he regards them as foolishness. He can’t understand the things of God because they are spiritually discerned. It would be wrong to expect the man without Christ to see and value spiritual things, just as it would be impossible to expect a corpse to see the material world. 

As a result the person without Christ rejects as foolish anything that comes from the Spirit of God. Those who have only their human senses will never be able to comprehend the spiritual truths of God’s revelation about sin, salvation, and Christ to His people. It’s unreasonable to expect non-believers to process spiritual issues in the same way as believers. It’s impossible to expect them to have the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) when they don’t have the Spirit of God. 

The only way to believe the truths of God, including His plan for salvation through faith in Christ, is for God to communicate those truths through His Holy Spirit, because intellectual knowledge and human reasoning cannot produce faith, they can only share facts. 

A man without Christ is spiritually dead, “they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18). 

To be separated from life in Christ is the same as being dead. However, when we are born again, the spiritual death is reversed. Before salvation, we are dead spiritually, but through Jesus we are made spiritually alive. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, …But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:1; 2:13).

We need to understand that spiritually dead people are also blind and deaf. Just as the Holy Spirit said to Isaiah about his people, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them” (Acts 28:25-27).

Everyone should have the desire to know what it means to be spiritually dead because all mankind born after the fall of Adam and Eve inherited a sin nature and therefore are spiritually dead (Romans 5:12). 

However because, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18). 

In summary, the unbelieving mind is spiritually dead, is hostile toward God and does not and cannot submit to God or please Him. This means that salvation is not a matter of the human will, but rather of God’s imparting new life to those who are spiritually dead (John 1:12-13). This means that salvation is of the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:30) and therefore, He gets all the glory (Ephesians 1:12). 

For that reason as you witness and share, pray that God would grant repentance and saving faith to those you are teaching; as Jesus told Nicodemus:  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (John 3:19-21). 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

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