Tag Archives: John 9

Morning Thoughts (John 9:41)

Morning ThoughtsJohn 9:41, “Jesus Said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”

This morning, proper discernment is as important as it has ever been. Sadly, discerning minds and spirits are hard to come by. Today, two of the prominent mindsets are: 1. turn a blind eye in denial or 2. accept whatever is presented without proving it. Both mentalities fail the test of discernment, and both should not be named among the saints and household of faith. One of the most troubling things when it comes to lack of discernment is when statements “about the Bible” are repeated often enough that most people accept them as fact without thinking about the logical conclusion. For example, people are quick to quote Matthew 7:1 and use that as a springboard to decry judging people at all. Matthew 7:1 has been quoted so much to this effect, that people do not question it whenever the idea is posited. However, should that position be true, we would be absolutely helpless as disciples in many things. How would we know whether those that we interacted with were honest if we did not judge (discern) certain things? How could we deny the company of a known murderer with a lack of judgment? Judgment is necessary, but the type of judgment must be the right kind (which is the point of Matthew 7).

One of the often spoken statements “from” the Bible is, “We are all sinners. Not a one of us is perfect.” These often spoken statements are verifiably true from Scripture as the Book teaches that all of us by nature are depraved – wholly so – without hope in ourselves to get out of that position. However, the statement is generally made to show some absurd concept. Sometimes the person saying that uses it to decry the idea of church discipline. Sometimes the statement is made to excuse personal sin. While it is true that we are all sinners, there are two different types of sinners that Christ talks about in our study verse.

The foreground for our study verse is that Christ has healed a man that was blind from his birth. The fact that He did this on the sabbath day incited the ire of the religious authorities. They accosted the man’s parents, the man himself, and eventually thrust him out from their presence when the man defended Jesus. Some of what they said to the man serves as a good contrast to Christ’s teaching in our verse. In Verse 34, they assert that the blind man was born in sins. That is a true statement, but the inference from their words was that they did not feel themselves to be likewise. They follow their true assertion by asking, “Dost thou teach us?” In other words, you are a sinner born in sins. We are above you; how dare you attempt to teach your superiors!

When Christ hears these words and the fact that they thrust the former blind man from their presence, Jesus teaches in Verses 39-40 that He came into the world for judgment for a twofold purpose: 1. the blind might see and 2. the seeing might be made blind. This prompts the Pharisees to ask whether they were blind also, and the answer to their question is our study verse above. Men like the blind man were made to see when Christ was here, and those aching spiritually were made to see certain things while He was here too. However, the converse is that those who thought they had all the answers (like the scribes and Pharisees) and could see just fine were made blind at Christ’s coming. Though it was obvious that He is the One that fulfills Scripture and prophecy, they could not see it due to their stubborn rebellion and unwillingness to admit that they might not be perfect. Therefore, they thought they could see, but Christ manifested their blindness with His words and actions.

The point of the context and our study verse is that though we are all sinners by nature, there is a difference even today amongst sinners. There are repentant and unrepentant sinners. When people ask how a church can discipline members or that we could rightly call sin for what it is, the fact remains that churches are comprised of sinners, but thankfully, churches that I have seen and associated with are full of repentant sinners. We do not make discernments and judgments based on our own infallibility but upon the infallible word of God. That same infallible source is what we strive to live our course by as well. We are attempting to hold people accountable to the same standard that we strive to hold ourselves to.

Occasionally, I meet a “drylander” (someone who always comes to church but refuses to be baptized) who will give the following excuse for not joining, “I’m not worthy to be a member.” While this sounds very humble and pious, Biblically speaking it amounts to rebellion as the Lord speaks of things we should do. If we fail to do them, then we are failing to show our love to Him. (John 14:15) The Pharisees’ problem was that they thought they could see, and therefore, the blindness continued. The drylander thinks he sees in the sense that he has it all figured out (I’m not worthy), but instead, he becomes voluntarily blind at not being able to see the beauty of Christ on the inside of His church. The same could be said for God’s children that have been sucked into the rat race of the world. Many of them were probably pricked in times past to disengage from the world moreso than they have and live at a higher spiritual plane, but through constant denial have chosen the sorrowful path of rich, young ruler. Talking to them, they have uttered sentiments such as this, “Well, church might be good for some, but I’m doing just fine. God knows my heart, and He understands.” Friends, God does not just know our hearts. He knows everything perfectly, and He is pleased when our hearts attempt to align with His precepts. These remain blind, because they think they are doing just fine.

For the repentant sinner, life is very different. Christ says that the blind have no sin. In truth, we are all blind by nature and full of sin. So, what does Christ mean that the blind have no sin? A repentant sinner knows he is blind. He knows he needs help. Much like the blind man in the lesson, he knew that he was crippled and destitute. A repentant sinner knows that he is nothing without the Lord. A repentant sinner knows that the Lord’s help is needed in all things and at all seasons. Whenever someone comes home to the church, sentiments like the following are uttered, “I don’t deserve to be a part of this, but I would count it a blessing if you all would have me. I love my Lord and want to serve Him the best that I can.” The person desirous to serve, knowing that they are blind, is one that is ready to praise God more perfectly for His sovereign grace and salvation.

When someone confesses that they are blind, it is then that sight (spiritually speaking) gets stronger. The cross becomes more refulgent, and heaven is more than just a place. Jesus is not just a man, and the Bible is more than an ordinary book. Church is a special gathering of blessed people not a congregation of hypocrites and fools. When someone claims that they are just fine (he can see), it is then that blindness becomes more cemented. He cannot see afar off, and He forgets that he was purged from his old sins. Are we all sinners? Yes. Are we all the same kind of sinners? No. God has endowed His children (through the new birth) the ability to cast off the vain and perishable things of this world. The start of that lifestyle is to admit the truth – we are blind – and try for the rest of our days to do better than we have ever done before (repent). Not all of God’s children in this world will live such a life, but it should behoove us to be found so doing. Friends, I freely confess that I know nothing as I ought to know, but thanks be unto God that He has sent His Son to lay His hand upon such blind ones as me so that I might get a glimpse of some of the precious truth and glory that has been freely given me in Christ Jesus the Lord.

In Hope,

Bro Philip

Morning Thoughts (John 9:6-7)

John 9:6-7, "When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing."

This morning, we contemplate the wisdom and choice of God to do certain things in certain ways. When considering all that God does, He always does things according to His good will and pleasure, but we do not always honour His good will and pleasure as we should. For example, many today cry that God perhaps "should" do things like the Bible records (such as the Red Sea parting, etc.) so that people today would believe more in Him. What is painfully obvious from Scripture is that no matter how majestic the Lord's working is on different occasions, people are still quite prone and victim to doubt and disbelieve the Lord, His promises, and His pleasure. Those that saw the Red Sea part quickly fell into unbelief. We today see His awesome working in our lives at different times, yet we also fall victim shortly thereafter to unbelief. However, no matter how the Lord chooses to work and move in a particular situation, we should honour and extol what He does at all times.

In our verses above, we read of an interesting circumstance in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. He encounters a man that is blind from his birth, and He is pleased to heal this man from his blindness. While Christ chose many times to have compassion on people and heal them from many different afflictions and sicknesses, His manner of healing them is not always the same. Sometimes, the healing comes from speaking a word, sometimes from giving a command, and sometimes from just speaking from a distant location (not even in the proximity of the sick person). However the Lord chooses to move and have compassion on people, His pleasure is to perform that thing in that way. In our story, the blind man is healed by Christ after Christ anoints his eyes with clay that is made from Christ's spittle.

Consider this scene for a moment. Here is One with all power that can simply speak a word and command something to come to pass. (Psalm 33:7) Here is One that can have the simplest command of thought to accomplish His will. Yet, on this occasion, He chooses to make clay from spit and daub it on this man's face around his eyes. Quite often today, people marvel and remark that a Holy and Wise God would use simple men to preach the gospel to enlighten the eyes of His children. Why would He do such a thing? Why would not the One with all might simply pour in the knowledge at the moment of regeneration? That is a question often asked of me, and I would imagine many minister's experiences are similar. The simple answer is that it pleased Him not to do so. (I Corinthians 1:22)

What are we to learn of Christ's actions towards this blind man when He could have healed Him in any number of different – and perhaps simpler – ways? The first thing we must ask when considering this account is what it pictures or typifies. Indeed, this account is literal and happened just as it is recorded on the page. However, what picture are we given on this occasion? It is our belief and suggestion that this scene of a blind man with clay in his face washing in the pool of Siloam typifies baptism as we experience it when joining ourselves to the New Testament church.

By nature, man is of the earth, earthy. (I Corinthians 15:47) When God created the first man Adam, He did so by taking the very dust of the earth to fashion into a body. That same dust from whence the man first came is the very same dust to which his body will go whenever this life is over. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) That, dear friends, is not much – if anything – to glory about. Being fashioned of the very common and nearly worthless dust is not very special. On top of that, our dust is corrupted by the old stench of sin and death. The corruption that inhabits these bodies reeks of sores from our own depravity. What this blind man had in front of his eyes was the very same substance that his body is by nature.

Baptism, as the Bible teaches it, does not wash away one ounce of filthiness before God. (I Peter 3:21) What baptism does do is answer that conscience that cries out, "What must I do?" when first posed with the knowledge of our own corruption contrasted against the holiness and sacrifice of our God for us. After we hear about the majestic grace and mercy of Christ despite our own depravity and worthlessness, we feel convicted and convinced that we must show gratitude to Him in return. The answer is to be baptized in the picture of His noble sacrifice for us.

Since that does not wash away one sin in the sight of God, does that mean that it washes nothing away? No dear friends, it washes a great many things away, but they are washed away symbolically in our eyes: not God's. When Paul experienced baptism at the hands of Ananias, there were many things that needed to be washed away from Paul's sight. (Acts 22:16) They were the sins that he finally saw for their guilt and blackness. Before his regeneration and eventual conversion, he felt no guilt for any of his actions. By nature, we are the same. We feel no condemnation for anything that we do, for we have not the capacity to feel the guilt that only spiritual eyesight can discern. (I Corinthians 2:14)

When Paul went into the baptismal waters, his sins – such as the stoning of Stephen – were washed away from his sight. His very sins that plagued his mind during those three days and nights of blindness were alleviated by the baptismal waters. This did absolutely nothing to absolve any of his misdeeds before God – Christ's work alone accomplishes that – but many things were absolved in his own mind going forward in his life. Just as the blind man had to have some clay (this old flesh) washed away to see, so do we have to have some of this old self washed away to serve God more acceptably in this life. We do not leave our eternal condemnation in the water, but we do leave personal guilt and condemnation in the water when we submit to His command to repent and be baptized in His name. (Acts 2:38)

Now, today many minimize the importance of baptism. Some are even heard to herald statements that say, "Well, so-and-so is an Old Baptist or one of us, but he/she has never been baptized." Friends, such thoughts and statements minimize the great importance and benefit of baptism. If it was not that important, rest assured that Christ would have never submitted to it nor commanded us to submit to it as well. As we say so often about washing the saint's feet, "If Christ could do it, then what should hinder us from doing it?" But, let us look at the blind man's case for a minute as it pertains to baptism. Specifically, let us look at his case from the anointing of Christ until his washing in Siloam.

Some will ask, "If someone has never been baptized, can they still have fellowship with Christ?" Certainly. "If someone has never been baptized, can they still enjoy preaching and worship services?" Absolutely. "Then what are they truly missing?" The answer to this last question is answered by the blind man's obedience to Christ' command. Consider that before his washing, he had experienced the sweet touch of Christ's gentle hand. As those holy hands anointed his eyes with clay, he felt what Christ felt like. As Christ utters that sweet command to him, he hears the gentle voice of the Dear Redeemer. But friends, how well could he see his Lord? How clearly could he describe this Great One? There are God's children that have felt the sweet caress of Christ's hand in their bower of prayer, and heard the still, small voice whispering peace to their heart and soul. But friends, to see Him high and lifted up, we have to wash some of this old self away in the pool of Siloam.

One might then say, "But don't they see Him through preaching?" Indeed they may. However, how much will He allow or permit us to see when still willfully blinded by our old clay? When we refuse the simplest of commands to submit and be baptized, how much will He honour us with clear sight of His majesty? I have made the challenge from coast to coast for someone to be baptized and tell me that it made no difference on how well they perceived Christ. So far, none have come forward. While I cherish those quiet and peaceful moments with His voice in my heart and hand at my cheek, I cherish and highly prize those times when His face is seen by faith. That sight was never more clearly aligned than it was after I submitted to His example and followed his lead to be baptized into His church. May we therefore wash in the pool of Siloam that we may come forth seeing Him better than ever before.

In Hope,

Bro Philip