August 23, 2018
Salvation is a gift from God and no matter how many good works you do they won’t save you. We try to fit God into human ways rather than changing ourselves to conform to His ways. That means that we think we can be good enough to make it to Heaven, or we do good deeds in order to work our way there. That’s not the way salvation works. When we finally understand that salvation is a free gift from God that we can’t earn by works we tend to stop trying to avoid sin as well as stopping the good deeds. We can’t earn salvation, but that doesn’t mean we should stop working for God. Jesus is our example of what our attitude should be. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4. Jesus never stopped His mission to spread the Good News and He never missed an opportunity to help someone in need. He’s the example that every Christian needs to follow.
It’s always a good idea to look at the context of a particular Scripture in order to gain a better understanding of the meaning. In the Gospel of John chapter 9 we read of a blind man who was healed by Jesus, but looking back into chapter 8 tells what had happened before this healing. A woman was caught in adultery and brought to Jesus for Him to condemn her. Instead of condemnation, He forgave her, but it was her accusers who were convicted of their own sins. This led to a confrontation with the Pharisees as to who Jesus really was, and in that conversation, Jesus made it clear that He was God in the flesh. This caused the Pharisees to pick up stones to stone Him for blasphemy. “…but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8:59. Jesus certainly wasn’t committing blasphemy by declaring He was God because He is God. It wasn’t time yet for Him to die for our sins, so He hid Himself and just went right through them and they didn’t see Him. Were the Pharisees blinded to Him, or did He use some other means to get through His accusers? Whatever means He used, He and the disciples were unharmed.
Jesus left the Temple where the confrontation had taken place and that’s where they encountered a blind man. “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from birth.” John 9:1. Sin must have been fresh on the minds of the disciples, having just watched Jesus forgive the adulterous woman but convicting her accusers of their own sin, and the ensuing confrontation must have left an impression. When they saw this man who was in need they only thought of placing blame. “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? John 9:2. The question they put to Jesus wasn’t about how they could help the man, but whose fault it was that he was blind. This was an intellectual question, not one from the heart. We are all a part of this fallen world and sin is part of our nature, but if a parent sins that doesn’t mean their child will be born blind. There are some sins that a parent can commit that will affect the health of their children; many babies today are born addicted to drugs because of the mother’s addiction. That wasn’t the case with this man. His blindness had nothing to do with his parents’ actions. The question regarding the parents sinning was somewhat understandable, but they also questioned if it had been the man’s own sin that caused the blindness. He had been blind from birth, so it isn’t logical that he could have committed a sin that would have caused a birth defect. There was a belief held by some that a baby could sin prior to birth. The example of this is the battle between Jacob and Esau in their mother’s womb. It’s true that a baby is born with a sin nature, but he cannot choose to sin until he’s aware of what sin really is. This man had a birth defect and he had learned to live with it.
After just coming from a confrontation with the Pharisees it would have been understandable by human terms if Jesus would have still been fuming over that incident, but Jesus didn’t rebuke them for their question. Instead, He demonstrated His love. “Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” John 9:3. That’s something we all need to remember. Life can become hard sometimes, but whatever challenges we face, whether health problems, financial problems or any other trouble in life, God can use these things to His glory if we allow it. His timing is perfect and when we least expect it, God will work all things for good. It’s easy to get discouraged when troubles come our way, but it could be that if you hold on just a little bit longer the works of God will be manifest in your life. Like us, this blind man was just trying to make it through each day in spite of his blindness. When he woke up that morning he had no idea of the blessing that he would soon receive, and that’s true for us also.
Nothing could distract Jesus from the work He had to do while He walked among men. He often had confrontations with the religious men, but He always shared the Good News that the Light had come into the world with anyone in need. His work was never done. As Christians, our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus, because His work continues through us. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5. What is the work that must be done? Are we to find blind people and heal them? Basically, yes. Worldly people live in the darkness of sin and death because they are blind to the Light of Jesus. Our mission in life is to share the Gospel with those who walk in darkness. Every Christian has a testimony that can be shared with someone who is blind to God’s Truth. Jesus said that He’s the light as long as He’s in the world. Satan thought he won at the cross when Jesus was crucified, but as always he was wrong. That Light wasn’t removed when Jesus was crucified because His light shines through those of us who follow Him.
When we think of light we usually we think in human terms. We think of sunlight, moonlight, and starlight, but there was light before they were created. At first, there was darkness permeating everything. Before any other act of creation, God allowed light. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Genesis 1:3. Those were the first words of creation. Notice that the sun, moon, and stars weren’t yet created, but there was light. Plants were created on the third day, but the sun, moon, and stars weren’t created until the fourth day. The animals and Adam were created after that. The light that was, in the beginning, was the same light that will illuminate the New Jerusalem after the sun, moon, and stars are gone. That Light is from Jesus. Darkness in this world comes from Satan, but the Light of the world is Jesus Christ. His Light is eternal. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. Don’t stumble around in the dark. Turn away from the darkness of sin and despair and turn to the Light of Jesus.
Christians need to choose to let His light shine through us. We are no longer blind to His truth and must come away from the darkness of sin. We know that the only way to eternal life is through faith in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Our sins are forgiven, but if we don’t turn from the darkness of sin we hide His light. “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” Luke 11:34-35. If we continually pursue activities that are sinful we can change the light in us from the light of God to the light of darkness. That seems to be an oxymoron, but Satan’s darkness will shine through our actions and words as surely as the light of Jesus will shine through in love. “If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” Luke 11:36. Walk in His light and dispel the darkness of Satan. Don’t give the Devil a toehold in your life because that will begin to obscure the light of God.
As long as we’re in the world we’re the lamps that His light shines through. A day is coming very soon when that Light will be taken away. When the Rapture happens, all Christians will immediately be taken to Heaven. When we stand before His throne we will finally see His pure light and glory…our faith will be sight. Until then we must keep on working. Not working to gain salvation, but working to share the Light with those in darkness. “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33. Don’t hide the light within you, but let it shine as a beacon to the lost world around you. The Holy Spirit will continue His work during Daniel’s 70th week, but the darkness will be devastating and if you don’t share the Gospel now your grandmother, husband, children, or friends will be left in the darkness of Satan’s evil works.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. Like the blind man outside the Temple, we are all blind from birth. Blind to the Light of the world. Only faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ can lift that blindness. We have work to do while there’s still Light.
God bless you all,