For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost. They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. For it is not ourselves that we preach; we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (verses 3-5)
Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-12
When we hear St Paul say, ‘For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost’, we might think this means that these people have to be lost, that they are beyond saving. Here, however, Paul makes it clear that this is not so. He shows that the word ‘lost’ is a description of the way they are, not a condemnation or a statement of how they always have to be.
These people are lost because the ‘evil god of this world’ has conned them into believing it – and sometimes has conned us into believing it about them too. But Jesus has won the battle over Satan. He defeated him on the cross. The power that Satan has over the lost can be broken, and we can be God’s agents through whom it is broken.
The light of God’s grace is shining on these people too; they just can’t see it. The only way their eyes will be opened (as happened to the two disciples on their way home to Emmaus) is to hear Jesus speak to them. That is why our message is Jesus only, and never ourselves. For we have nothing to help them with. In Christ, however, they have everything they need.
Help me, Father, to see those who are being lost and to feel compassion for them. Speak the message of grace to them through me, so that their eyes will be opened and they will see the light. Amen.
by Robert Turnbull, in ‘Renewed Hope for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2000)
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