THE BLINDNESS OF THE HEART (Ephesians 4:18)
Now this darkness which envelops the natural man is a moral one, having its seat in the soul. Our Saviour declared, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23). The heart is the same to the soul as the eye is to the body.
As a sound eye lets in natural light, so a good heart lets in spiritual light; and AS A BLIND EYE SHUTS OUT NATURAL LIGHT, SO AN EVIL HEART SHUTS OUT SPIRITUAL LIGHT. Accordingly we find the apostle expressly ascribing the darkness of the understanding to the blindness of the heart. He represents all men as “having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the BLINDNESS OF THEIR HEART” (Eph. 4:18).
While sinners remain under the entire dominion of a wicked heart they are altogether blind to the spiritual excellence of the character, the works and the ways of God. “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not” (Jer. 5:21). The natural man is blind. This awful fact was affirmed again and again by our Lord as He addressed hypocritical scribes thus: “blind leaders of the blind,” “ye blind guides,” “thou blind Pharisee” (Matt. 15:14; 23:24, 26). Paul said: “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (2 Cor. 4:4).
There is in the unregenerate mind an incompetence, an incapacity, an inability to understand the things of the Spirit; and Christ’s repeated miracle in restoring sight to the naturally blind was designed to teach us our imperative need of the same divine power recovering spiritual vision to our souls.
A question has been raised as to whether this blindness of the natural man is partial or total, whether it is simply a defect of vision or whether he has no vision at all. The nature of his disease may best be defined as spiritual myopia or shortsightedness. He is able to see clearly objects which are nearby, but distant ones lie wholly beyond the range of his vision. In other words, the mind’s eye of the sinner is capable of perceiving natural things, but he has no ability to see spiritual things. Holy Writ states that the one who “lacketh these things,” namely, the graces of faith, virtue, knowledge, and so forth, mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7, is “blind, and cannot see afar off” (v. 9). The Book therefore urges him to receive “eyesalve” from Christ, that he may see (Rev. 3:18).
For this very purpose the Son of God came into the world: to give “deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18). Concerning those who are the subjects of this miracle of grace it is said, “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). This is the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise: “I am the light of the world: HE THAT FOLLOWETH ME SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
God is light, therefore those who are alienated from Him are in COMPLETE SPIRITUAL DARKNESS. They do not see the frightful danger to which they are exposed. Though they are led captive by Satan from day to day and year to year, they are totally unaware of his malignant influence over them. They are blind to the nature and tendency of their religious performances, failing to perceive that no matter how earnestly they engage in them, they cannot be acceptable to God while their minds are at enmity against Him. They are blind to the way and means of recovery.
THE AWFUL THING IS THAT THE NATURAL MAN IS QUITE BLIND TO THE BLINDNESS OF HIS HEART which is insensibly leading him to “the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13). That is why the vast majority live so securely and peacefully. It has always appeared strange to the godly why the ungodly can be so unconcerned while under sentence of death, and conduct themselves so frivolously and gaily while exposed to the wrath to come.
John was surprised to see the wicked spending their days in carnality and feasting. David was grieved at the prosperity of the wicked and could not account for their not being in trouble as other men. Amos was astonished to behold the sinners in Zion living at ease, putting the evil day far from them, lying on beds of ivory. Nothing but their SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS can explain the conduct of the vast majority of mankind, crying peace and safety when exposed to IMPENDING DESTRUCTION.