(17) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
King James Version Change your email Bible version
Christ rebukes His church of Laodicea because its perception of reality—particularly about themselves—bears no resemblance to His own.
This spiritual blindness resembles the false expectations held by the people of Christ's time, with a notable exception: The members of His church have access to His Spirit—His mind, His heart, His perspective—and so should be free from much of the blindness that obstructs carnal man. They have the means to see more clearly. A more accurate lens is available to Christians, which is why He says, "[A]noint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see" (Revelation 3:18). Once God's Spirit has been given, the onus is on the individual to improve his own sight.
Today's church member may demonstrate this blindness in ways similar to the blind of Christ's time. It may come in the form of an unshakable belief that he alone has the whole counsel of Godor is the primary focus of God's attention. It may show itself in a steady stream of criticism of the brethren—criticism that encompasses all but the self. It may manifest itself in a self-centeredness that assumes the spiritual high ground, believing that the rest of the church needs to rise to its level. All of these distortions spring from not seeing the self clearly—a result of not seeing God clearly.
The Bible gives two related principles regarding spiritual vision, particularly about being able to see God—and as we see God more clearly, our perception of all other spiritual matters will improve. First, Jesus tells us that the pure in heart—those without guile, pride, hypocrisy, envy, jealousy, competition, hidden anger, double-mindedness, or any other defilement of inward sin—will see God (Matthew 5:8). In the same vein, Hebrews 12:14 says that without holiness—God's consecration of us combined with our submission to His requirements for moral purity—one will not see God. Our spiritual vision will only be as good as our purity of mind and conduct. Any defilement will affect our spiritual sight, making it a never-ending challenge to see things as God sees them.
It is far easier to compile and rehearse the failings of others than it is to overcome in areas where we fall short of God's holiness. Seeing through the lens of unquestioned, untested, or unreliable expectations—about God, about prophecy, about our standing before Him, or the like—leaves us little better than those who failed to recognize their Creator when He came to them. Yet, applying ourselves to this purifying process will begin to allow us to see things from a perspective that approaches God's own.
— David C. Grabbe
Post a Comment