By Robert Halsey Pine
“Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind…If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘we see,’ your sin remains.’” (John 9:18-41 NRSV).
We were in darkness and blind to the light before Jesus came. Like the blind man that came to Jesus and was healed, many of the spiritually blind believed in Jesus and received the light of the new life in Christ Jesus. The Pharisees were confident in their own wisdom concerning God and did not recognize the light that came into the world in Jesus. Their arrogance in claiming sight while not believing gave Jesus an opportunity to beat them at their own game. He said, “But now that you say, ‘We See,’ your sin remains.” For if they could truly see and did not believe in the one who God sent, they would be of sin.
The Pharisees were blind in their arrogance, whereas others were merely blind due to their ignorance. When we take stock of ourselves, where are we having trouble in our relationship with God through Christ Jesus? Are we merely ignorant of the Lord, or are we too smart to bother with Him? This is a tough one, because if we have not already truly found the Lord, we probably fit into one of these two categories. Or maybe we’re an on-again, off-again type. We pick our times when it’s convenient to recognize our Father in heaven.
It boils down to just how seriously we take our relationship with our Creator and Father. Can we afford the luxury of not spending time seeking God because it interferes with the other things going on in our lives right now? Do we say, “I’ll get around to God one of these days,” or “I’m giving Him all the time that I have right now?” If we make a list of all of the things that we think about every day, what percentage would God have? If we’re honest, this “thought” inventory can tell us a lot about our God-seeking.
We can plead ignorance in the Lord for just so long before it becomes a weak excuse. The life of John Newton, which moved from slave ship captain to priest of the Church of England and writer of “Amazing Grace,” was amazing in itself. His early years in the slave trade were probably served in ignorance of the sin that was in it. When he became the captain of his own ship, he was quite sensitive to the treatment of the slaves. He finally gave up the slave trade and wrote the words to “Amazing Grace” and many other hymns. He wrote in part, “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.