Conditions Of Spiritual Sight
Spiritual blindness is the invariable result of sin. Sin darkens the mind and shuts out the light and knowledge of God; hence our gospel “is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” (II. Cor. 4:3, 4.) God complained of the Jews, saying, “O foolish people and with out understanding; which have eyes, and see not.” (Jer. 5:21.) Paul spoke of the Gentiles as “having the under standing darkened . . . because of the blindness of their heart,” and said his mission to them was “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light.” (Eph. 4;18; Acts 26:18.)
Jesus Christ came not only as the “light of the world,” but “to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Isa. 42:7.) A blind man cannot see, even though there is light without. Therefore, we need to pray, as did the Psalmist, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Of the disciples we read, first, “Their eyes were opened, and they knew Him;” and “then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” (Luke 24:31-45.)
One of the first conditions of spiritual sight is faith in God. When the “two blind men followed Him, crying and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us, . . . Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. And their eyes were opened.” (Matt. 9:27-30.) Though this was a literal recovery of sight, it is illustrative of the opening of our spiritual eyes. Paul plainly teaches that the blindness of the Jews was due to their unbelief. (Rom 11:78.) It is by faith that our spiritual eyes are opened. “Said I not unto thee, if thou wouldst BELIEVE, thou SHOULDEST SEE the glory of God,” was the word of Jesus to Martha.
“If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine,” (John 7:17.) The failure to see and understand spiritual truths is not so much due to mental difficulties as it is to heart difficulties; something the heart is not willing to yield. When the heart gives up, and is really willing to obey God, the Spirit is faithful in revealing the hindering cause, and to guide into all truth. The person who willingly and obediently walks in all the light God has given, and sincerely seeks to know the whole will of God, will never be left to grope in darkness. Again and again we have found that when people could not “see into sanctification,” as they expressed it, it was due to the fact that there was some secret sin they were not willing to forsake, some wrong they were not willing to confess, some point in which they were not willing to obey; and the instant the matter with which God had a controversy was yielded they knew of the doctrine experimentally. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” (Isa. 1:19.)
“If, therefore, thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matt. 6:22.) The single eye here means singleness of purpose; a purpose to know and do the whole will of God — and only this. It means consecration and concentration to the whole will of God. One of the reasons for consecration is, “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:3.) Consecration means death to self-seeking, and a fixed purpose of heart to know and to do the whole will of God. As the person who devotes himself entirely to art, or music, or science, etc., finds the secrets of the matter, so he who yields himself to the whole will of God, with an eye single to His glory, will ever have increasing light and knowledge. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will shew them His covenant.” (Ps. 25:14.)
A Second Touch
“After that He put His hands again upon his eyes and made him look up; and he was restored and saw every man clearly.” (Mark 8:25.) He had received one touch, and declared he could “see — men as trees walking.” If some one had told him he needed a second touch, he might have reasoned that if one touch would make men appear as tall as trees, a second touch would make them appear twice as tall as trees, and answered, that he could see no necessity for a second touch. But the second touch was necessary in order to see “clearly.” We believe that Jesus here meant to teach, and illustrate by an object lesson, how we might receive our spiritual sight. Some object to a second work of grace, by saying they “do not believe in a half way work;” neither do we teach a half way work. And yet we must admit that this first touch was an imperfect, or half way work, or else admit that there was a purpose and design in this method. We doubt not He could have opened this blind man’s eyes with one touch, as He did frequently; but fully believe that His design was to thus teach that a second touch was necessary to clear spiritual vision. The common experience and testimony of all who have received “the second blessing, properly so-called,” — the second touch, in the sanctification of their souls — is that said experience wondrously clarified their vision, and at once enabled them to see “clearly,” the truth of full salvation; that whereas they had formerly failed to see the teaching of a second work of grace anywhere in the Bible, they could now see it on almost every page; and because of this clarified vision the Bible had become a new book to them. Yes indeed, the “second blessing” is a great eye opener.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5-8.) The pure in heart will see God in His people, in His Word, in nature, in His providences, in earth, in heaven — everywhere, and all the time. Matters that were formerly attributed to mere “happen so,” and to “luck” and “chance” will now reveal God. Our spiritual condition lends color to our vision. “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” It takes purity to see purity. Men who themselves are impure are likely to judge every one else as impure; everything takes on the color of the window light through which one is looking; because of this fact the enemies of Jesus failed to recognize His spotless character. If sin is the source of spiritual blindness, it would logically follow that the saving from all sin would mean the recovery of spiritual sight; that purity of heart would be the cure of spiritual blindness. God has said, “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.” (Isa. 42:16.) “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened: that ye may know the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (Eph. 1:18.)