And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor 4:3-4)
There are a lot of reasons why people do not believe the gospel. Though the reasons vary, they all have a similar foundation: their minds/hearts are unable to see the light of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. There is a spiritual reality revealed in the gospel. The gospel is a revelation of the glory and nature of God Himself.
Satan (the “god of this world”, in the verse above) blinds the minds of people so they don’t see God’s glory in the gospel. There are almost as many arguments against the gospel as there are people in the world. But behind all of these is a master manipulator. This wicked being has been involved since the very first humans were enticed to rebel against God’s counsel and rule.
This spiritual blindness can be propagated through anti-Christ philosophies and thought systems. It can also be hidden from view by sensuality, lust, greed, power, etc. But it can become even more base and ugly. Some people have so surrendered to darkness that evil spirits are actually involved directly in their lives, blinding them to the truth.
While the following story might be hard for some of you to accept, I simply ask you to suspend your own cynicism and allow me to share what I have seen and experienced in this world that we live in.
One night while preaching and teaching in an animistic, idol-worshipping, third-world nation, there were a number of severely demon-possessed people brought to me and the team I was serving with. These oppressed souls had voluntarily come to the meetings to hear the preaching of the gospel. But they were also possessed by demons.
During the praise and worship time, God’s Spirit began to move and all the believers could feel His presence and there was this single voice of praise and worship joyfully ascending to heaven. At this point many demon-possessed people were suddenly overtaken by the evil spirits. This usually looked like convulsions on the floor. The people would writhe and jerk, sometimes ripping at their own clothes, screaming out, mocking God, etc.
The reality is that the demon’s were very afraid of the atmosphere where God’s truth and Spirit are welcomed and yielded to. They know that their “possessions” are not safe in such an environment. So they try to distract and derail the meeting. But in doing so, they of course come out of their “cover”. We are able to see they are among us.
How well I remember dealing with a demon-possessed woman one night. She was mostly unconscious (though the demon was using her body and using her mouth to say ugly things.) I commanded the demon to be silent and to allow the woman to come to consciousness. I began speaking to the woman by name, seeking to rouse her and gain her cooperation in the process of deliverance. As I began to speak to her directly, I explained that she was demon-possessed and that she could be set free through Jesus. I asked if she wanted to believe in the Savior and follow Him and be free from all of these dirty devils. She said she wanted to be free.
So I began to tell her the basics of the gospel and to lead her to call upon the name of Jesus. But as soon as I started, suddenly her hands came up beside her head and pressed against her ears, in an attempt to prevent her from hearing my words. She also tightly shut her eyes.
This was of course the demon still fighting against the truth that would set her free.
One thing this taught me was that the demons know that it is the truth of the gospel of Christ that sets people free. That demon did not want his host to learn about freedom in Christ!
The story has a good ending. In Jesus’ name, I exercised authority over the demon and commanded it to stop using the woman’s hands and to stop hindering her from hearing the truth. The devil very reluctantly and whiningly obliged. The woman was in a few short minutes totally delivered from the demon and had found forgiveness, peace, and freedom in Christ. She suddenly was fully restored to her right mind and had no more interference.
Where did the demon go? To some new assignment of seeking to keep people away from the truth of who Jesus is.
Closer to home, I was one day sharing the gospel with a young man who was very depressed about his life. He seemed to understand the truth of God’s love for Him and Christ’s death for him. But for some reason he simply could not bring himself to call on Jesus’ name in prayer. So I kept coaching him to simply pray out loud to Jesus and ask Him for forgiveness and to come into his life. But he kept insisting that he just couldn’t seem to do it.
I told him, “Sure you can. Just call on Jesus’ name. Open your mouth now and cry out to Him. He will save you if you will call upon Him.” But the young man kept saying, “I don’t know what’s the matter, but I just can’t do it. I just can’t seem to say it.” I kept insisting that he could indeed call upon the Lord, and that I couldn’t do this for him. It was his responsibility. He kept insisting that for some unkown reason he could not make himself do so.
Finally I realized what was happening. There was an evil spirit somehow involved in his life. It was exercising some sort of evil hold over him. Suddenly I just boldly commanded, “You foul spirit, I command you to loose this man’s mind and mouth in Jesus’ name. I command you to release him so that he can call on Jesus.”
I immediately turned to the man and said, “Son, call on the name of Jesus and you will be saved.” Immediately this young man began to cry out with a very loud voice, “Jesus, save me! Help me, Lord! I need you, Lord! Save me, Jesus!” The next instant was glorious. God’s Spirit suddenly fell on the young man. He began to weep in sweet release and peace. He knew he was heard. God had come to him.
And the devil had left. And so far it has lasted for over 20 years!
Oh this is a glorious God and a glorious gospel.
You too can be free if you will call on Jesus’ name, confessing your sins and your need of Him. He will forgive you and give you a new life. It is very real. And it is happening to people all over our world every day.
And the devil is opposing it. But he is simply no match for King Jesus.