In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
-2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV
This week I had a wonderful opportunity to share with some great folks at the Kinston branch of the Neuse Regional Public Library. They were gracious enough to allow me the opportunity to hold a book signing for the new devotion, “Grace”, and it opened up the doors for some great Gospel discussion on what “grace” means and how it impacts our lives. I had the opportunity to put the book into the hands of some wonderful people that I can only trust need to hear the words that fill the pages of that small devotion. My prayer is that God would use it in anyway that He sees fit for His glory.
However, I also had the opportunity to be introduced to two special people that gave me great insight into the spiritual blindness of our community, on a micro-cosmic level, and our world at large. While sitting at my table at the library I noticed a young man and woman who came in about 30 minutes after I sat down. I said “hello” to both of them but there was not much in the way of a response. I didn’t pay them much attention but focused more on the folks that God had brought to the table for me to engage with. About every 10-15 minutes, however, this gentleman would walk back by my table and peruse my book and then walk off. As I was packing up I noticed both the young and woman waiting outside the library. I wasn’t naive and had a pretty good idea of what might be getting ready to happen when I walked out, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t an opportunity to share my book with them.
I was right. As I left the library the young man called me aside and began asking me about “grace”, but his questions were not geared towards learning more. He was seeking an avenue in which to argue with me. I simply responded that grace was all sufficient for our every need and, while not a license to sin, that it was a gift freely bestowed upon those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That was the door he needed. My friend then went into an hour long tirade about the nature of salvation and who salvation belonged to. Sparing you the details, let’s just say in the end there was no hope for me or anyone of a light skin color and my best option was to live my life to the fullest before I was sent to hell. This gentleman had many verses to back up his beliefs but sadly most all of them were taking very much out of context. We tried very hard to help him see the error of his belief system but there not even the semblance of a teachable-spirit in that moment. (As a side note, in an answer to silent prayer, God sent a fellow laborer to join me at the perfect moment so that the discussion didn’t remain a 2 vs. 1 argument…God is good and He answers the prayers of His children! In true God like fashion, this guy had gotten the time of my book-signing off by a few minutes and that was the whole reason he was walking up when he did!)
I share this because my heart aches today for those two beautiful creations of God. They have been blinded by a history of hatred and oppression. They want vindication and I can understand that. However, they are serving a god that exudes hatred for everyone in the world, even those he has “saved”. He stands ready to punish and destroy anyone who steps out of line, regardless of “salvation”. I want so badly for them to understand that God loves them and God loves the people of this world. I want so badly for them to understand GRACE. That doesn’t mean that everyone will be saved but it does mean that God is offering the Gospel to all who would believe. Jesus stands calling all men and women to himself and is welcoming those that come to him in repentance (Matthew 11:28, John 6:37, Revelation 3:20), regardless of nationality, skin color, eye color, religious background, economic status, etc.
I also share this because we need to understand that spiritual bondage very much exists today and it is on the rise. There are people in our own communities that live in faulty belief systems that hold them captive to sin and self and will ultimately take them straight into the pits of hell. This “faulty belief” system can be other religions, like my two friends from the library, or it can simply be apathy or mere “social-Christianity”. God opened wide my eyes to that yesterday. May God open our eyes to see those around us that are blinded by the god of this world and may He use us as an instrument to shine the light of the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the dark places all around us!
Yours in the fight to shine the light,