Why do people not choose Christ? I ask myself this question often when I meet people who are willfully unbelievers. Is it that they don’t see enough hard evidence? Is it that they have had a bad experience with Christians or church and avoid it altogether? Is it that they find the requirements of Christianity to heavy a burden? It is often a mixture of these, but ultimately the reason for continued unbelief is none other than the Devil. He has blinded those who continue in unbelief from Christ. Now I know that this sounds quite radical and it also may sound as if I’m giving too much credit to Satan;’s abilities but I believe I am simply acknowledging his tactics. Satan simply does not want people to turn to God through Christ. And when they are not born again they are more to Satan than to God being enemies of God. Let’s look in to this dynamic of the spiritual world and where it meets the minds of men.
2Corinthians 4:4 – whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
The context of this scripture reveals who Paul is talking about – they are the people who “are perishing”. And who is perishing but those who do not heed to the Gospel and give their lives to Christ (John 3:16). So in verse 4 the unbelieving are identified as being blind to the truth of Christ, who blinded them? The Devil, and he did this so that “the light of the Gospel of Christ (would not) would shine on them”.
2Corinthians 3:14 – But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
Ever since Lucifer was defeated in battle and kicked out of Heaven he seems to be on an unstoppable mission to spoil anything and everything he can just to tick God off. And since he realized he could not win in against God and His army what was left? Us! From the very beginning Satan has been steering us away from God. Satan is using everything he has to keep us from realizing the truth which is God’s reality, love, and forgiveness. When a person allows Satan to deceive them (and the individuals free will does play the lead role in their becoming blind) they will not accept Christ for who He really is, they will remain alienated from God and unforgiven of their sin.
1John 2:11 – But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Other then trying to spoil everything God has made, Satan has also been a liar from the very beginning (John 8:44). Can you think of another story in the Bible that has to do with Satan, sin, and “vision”? The Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:4 – Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Genesis 3:5 – “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
If you take everything Satan has ever said and flip it around to the opposite meaning you will almost always end up with God’s truth. Satan says “Look at you, you’re a terrible sinful person who can’t be used by God”. However, God’s truth is “In my eyes (the only ones that matter) you’re forgiven and perfected by Christ, people like you are exactly who I always use!”.
So in the Garden we see Satan at it again, lying (surprise surprise!). He tells Adam and Eve that when they eat the fruit (rebel against God’s command) that their eyes will be opened! That before, they could not really see but NOW they can truly see! That is the lie that Satan still tricks people with, that sin is true life. That, however, could not be further from the truth. Satan blinds people and convinces them they aren’t actually blind, what a predicament! Ever encountered someone who said they aren’t sinful or bad, or that they they don’t need Jesus to save them?
1John 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
From Darkness to Light
So if we have a friend, family member or co-worker who is an unbeliever how can we get them saved? The first step is to realize it’s not you who is saving them, it’s you being used to do whatever God wills towards that unbeliever but it’s the Father (John 6:44) drawing someone and the Son who saves them (John 3:36). When you come to this revelation, evangelism changes drastically, it’s not winning the argument that will “win them over” and it’s not the living perfect and pure that will convince them to convert. It’s God who uses us, draws them, and saves them.
The second step is to rebuke Satan in Jesus’s name and proclaim His victory over the Devils blinders that keep that person from Christ. So we are basically praying that Jesus would do the work of spiritual warfare in disabling Satan. When Satan is pushed back from that persons life the spiritual blinders are removed and they are able to see a break in the clouds, the light at the end of the tunnel – Christ. Successful evangelism (introducing people to Christianity) is %20 action and %80 prayer.
Jesus sheds much light (no pun intended) on this aspect of the spiritual realm when He teaches the parable of “the Strong Man” in Matthew 12:29, Mark 3:27, and Luke 11:21.
Mark 3:27 – “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
Luke 11:21 – “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace.
Luke 11:22 – “But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.
The strong man fully represents Satan claiming authority over a person who is not under God’s immediate authority and protection a.k.a. an unbeliever. These “goods” are the people who are oppressed by Satan, deceived, and blinded by him. The stronger man is Christ (this cannot be Satan for Christ is always stronger than Satan) who comes, binds the strong man and plunders or takes the goods out of that house and puts it into his house.
The surrounding scriptures of each mention of this parable contain Jesus talking about casting out demons and spiritual warfare so it’s hard to give this parable a meaning other than that of Jesus being victorious over Satan and his minions.
Binding The Strong Man
How many times have I prayed “Lord, save them! Pull them from the kingdom of darkness and in to the light.” In the light of the teaching of binding the strong man I wonder how effective this prayer actually is. It seems to have undertones of “Jesus, please override their free will that you gave them and just make them saved somehow.” However, God will not do this, it’s similar to if someone is delivered of demons yet they lack the will power to keep themselves pure thus deflecting future returns of those demons. If they don’t will it and do it, demons will return even more powerful than before. This is spoken of by Jesus in the passages surrounding the Strong Man parable in Matthew 12, Mark 3, and Luke11. Out of choice one chooses to repent and turn to God, but how can they choose when they are blind? Ask Jesus to restore vision to the blind.
We must pray to Jesus that He would bind the strong man (Satan) that guards his possessions (lost souls) so that he can no longer hold them in darkness. When we do this with faith, Christ is enabled to do the work that He was meant to do and the work that we so often try to do ourselves and can’t. Perhaps this is why most modern churches are ineffective at truly maintaining a generation of Christians, because they saved them instead of God.