What is Spiritual Blindness?
Spiritual blindness is a spiritual condition where an individual is unable to recognize God or perceive the works of God. Spiritual blindness is also a condition where a person fails to understand the message of God and to spiritually discern between good and evil.
So what does the Bible say about spiritual blindness and what are some of the examples that spiritual blindness is taking place in a person’s life?
1. Spiritually Blind People Reject The Existence of God
Atheism is an example of spiritual blindness. Romans 1:19-20 says that even though we cannot physically see God with our natural eyes, the evidence that a Creator exists can be seen through the things that God has made. Therefore nature itself proves that God exists.
However when atheists reject the existence of God, they are testifying about their spiritual blindness and to their deliberate rejection of God, or to recognize the physical works of God.
Psalm 14:1 says that “The fool says in his heart “There is no God” meaning that there is a deliberate suppression in one’s own heart to reject the existence of the Creator.
2. Spiritually Blind People Cannot Understand or Receive the Gospel
The Bible tells us that the devil is working hard to blind people from accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says: And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 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
The last thing the devil wants is to see people genuinely saved through the message of the Gospel. The devil does not want to see people in a right relationship with Jesus Christ by seeing people receive God’s free gift of salvation.
Therefore the devil blinds people from seeing the light of the gospel of Christ through introducing a variety of counterfeit gospels and false teachings to avert their eyes from believing and accepting the true Gospel.
1 Corinthians 1:18 says: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God
Therefore when people mock the message of the Gospel, or when they reject or distort the message of Christ’s finished work on the Cross, then they reveal themselves to be spiritually blind.
3. Spiritually Blind People Will Follow False Teachers
The Pharisees were one of Christ’s biggest opponents. Despite Jesus demonstrating His deity through His message and through His works and miracles, the Pharisees were religious leaders who refused to accept the divinity of Jesus Christ.
The Pharisees were false teachers who were blind to perceiving that Jesus was indeed God in the flesh and that He was the Messiah whom the Scriptures spoke about (John 5:39-40).
However, the Pharisees were not only spiritually blind themselves, but they were also leading their followers astray (Matthew 23:13-15). So the Pharisees were blind men who were leading blind people.
In reference to the false teachers, Jesus says the following: “Every plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:13-14)
Therefore spiritual blindness leads to spiritual deception. Spiritual blindness prevents people from discerning between good and evil. Spiritual blindness enables people to follow after false prophets and false teachings, which ultimately leads to both the blind teacher and the blind follower to fall into the same pit.
4. Spiritually Blind People Enjoy Their Sinful Lifestyles
The presence of sin in one’s life can cause spiritual blindness. For example, the sin of pride and idolatry can blind people to the extent of causing people to have a hardened heart or seared conscience.
So when we enjoy our sins or when we do not repent, sin has the effect of not only corrupting us, but sin will also blind us.
Zephaniah 1:17 says: “I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.”
1 John 2:10 says: “But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
So when we are controlled by our sin nature, the difference between good and evil can be blurred. We become slaves to sin instead of becoming people who are set free by the truth and the blood of Christ.
How to Prevent Spiritual Blindness
Preventing spiritual blindness starts with seeking after Jesus Christ. We must embrace the true Gospel or the Christ’s finished work on the Cross. It is only Christ Himself who can remove our spiritual blindness. Therefore we must seek a relationship with Him.
In John 9:1-41, Jesus did what had never been done by anyone before: He healed the eyes of a man who was born blind. This unique miracle alone proved that Jesus was the Son of God or the Messiah whom the Scriptures had promised would come.
However the Pharisees in their pride set out to disprove Jesus and His works (John 9:13-34). They did not accept or recognize Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah despite all their religious knowledge, titles and influence.
The Pharisees were blind to the true nature and character of Jesus Christ as the Messiah (John 9:39-41).
However in contrast, the blind man whom Jesus healed accepted Christ and worshipped Him as the Messiah (John 9:35-38). The man who was once physically blind also had his spiritual eyes opened by Christ Himself.
One of the ironies and lessons of this story is that: one’s spiritual understanding is not dependent on an academic education nor is it dependent on one’s religious title.
John 9:1-41 reveals that the Pharisees were totally blind to recognizing the divinity of Jesus Christ despite their religious credentials. The Pharisees’ did not apply their academic knowledge of the Scriptures to their personal life. They were not doers of the word of God and neither did they know how to apply God’s word.
In contrast the blind man who had no religious credentials had his spiritual eyes opened simply because he humbly believed in the One who healed him.
So due to his personal encounter with Jesus, the blind man reflected that his spiritual understanding about the true nature of Christ was far deeper than the religious teachers themselves. The Pharisees were spiritually blind.
In John 9:30-34 the blind man says the following to the Pharisees: “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to Him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.” 34 They (the Pharisees) answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.
Therefore it is only through a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ that the veil of spiritual blindness can be removed from our eyes. Our understanding of who Christ is becomes clear when we receive Him as Lord and Saviour.
2 Corinthians 3:16 says: But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
Secondly, we need to walk in the Spirit and not according to our sinful nature. One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth. So the Holy Spirit also enables us to understand God’s word and to discern between good and evil.
Jesus also says the world is spiritually blind to the work of the Holy Spirit. However, those individuals who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit will recognize God and the works of God.
John 14:17 – Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
People become spiritually blind when they decide to live their life without the presence and influence of Jesus Christ in every area of their life.
Jesus Christ presents Himself as the Light of the world and that without Him, we will walk in darkness.
John 8:12 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Therefore Jesus Christ is the cure to spiritual blindness.