If The Gospel Is Veiled
In 2 Corinthians chapters 3 & 4, Paul sets forth certain consequences “if our gospel is veiled”. This article will note the background for Paul’s thoughts on this possibility, and four consequences to follow. In Exodus 34:30-33 the Holy Spirit reveals: “So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.” Paul used the incident from that occasion to teach the Corinthians the consequences of “veiling” or covering up the gospel message so that people who are lost do not get to see the Light of Truth, their deliverance from sin, and the wonderful hope and assurance that comes through Christ.
The first consequence is a recognition that Satan is winning the battle for the minds and souls of many people. In the rejection of the gospel by many Jews of Paul’s day, Paul notes (2 Corinthians 3:15) “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.” But the apostle reveals that “nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (verse 16). The “veil on the heart” is the condition Satan desires for all people. Whenever any person refuses to consider the gospel, Satan is accomplishing his purpose. When Satan persuaded Eve to sin, he did so by lying: “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘you shall not surely die’” (Genesis 3:4). He lied about the results of her disobedience and he has been lying ever since. Jesus told rebellious people of His generation, “you are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44) Satan “exchanged the truth of God for the lie” (Romans 1:25) to keep people from believing the revelation from God.
The second and very sad consequence of a veiled gospel is that many will remain in darkness all of their lives. Satan, as the ruler of darkness, seeks to keep people in darkness and in bondage to him. In Paul’s great defense before Agrippa, he reveals the words of Jesus to him on the Damascus road: “… the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (Acts 26:17, 18). The mission of the apostles was to forcefully show the difference between the darkness of Satan and the Light of the gospel of Christ. Note these passages from apostles Peter, Paul, and John. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light.” (I Peter 2:9) “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of Light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” (I Thessalonians 5:4,5). “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:5-7).
Those who remain in darkness do not experience the great changes that come to those who believe and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. To miss the transformation God has planned for each of us is a tragedy! God said “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). God made us in His image, that image is disfigured by our sins, and God wishes to remake us into the divine image. The means to accomplish that have been provided by the sacrifice of Jesus and the proclaiming of the gospel message. Paul wrote: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12;1,2) The example and teaching of the Son of God can remake us into the divine image and suit us for heaven!
The final consequence of a veiled gospel is that some will be lost eternally. God calls us by the gospel “for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). But, that glory to be obtained is conditional: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 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” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4) The loss of the unbeliever will be eternal, as stated by the Lord: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The purpose of “everlasting fire” is to administer “everlasting punishment” (verse 46). Salvation from that awful punishment compelled Paul to say “knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11).
No wonder that Christians exhort one another in the words of the old song:
Send the Light
Let us not grow weary in the work of love,
“Send the Light, send the Light!”
Let us gather jewels for a crown above,
“Send the Light, send the Light!”