Matthew Henry On Spiritual Blindness

‘He has blinded their eyes… I would heal them.’ (John 12:40).

What are we to say about these words? Are we to say, “It is God who blinds their eyes”? or Is there a difference between He – “He has blinded their eyes” – and I – “I would heal them”? Could “He” be understood as a reference to “the god of this world” –  “The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4)? Here, we may recall the parable of the sower – “When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15). 

 * Matthew Henry comments on John 12:39-40.

“God damns none by mere sovereignty… They could not believe, that is, they would not; they were obstinately resolved in their infidelity… God is not the author of sin… yet… (t)here is a righteous hand of God sometimes to be acknowledged in the blindness of those who persist in impenitency and unbelief,  by which they are justly punished for their former resistance of divine light.”

What is the connection between “they could not believe” and “He has blinded their eyes”? Matthew Henry suggests that there’s something else behind “they could not.” It’s “they would not.” When we speak about spiritual blindness, we should never forget this – they would not.

 * Matthew Henry comments on Isaiah 6:9-13.

“… when they should obstinately reject the gospel and should thereupon be rejected by God”

Here, Henry is saying the same thing as he said on John 12:40 – “they are justly punished for their former resistance of divine light.” 

Where does spiritual blindness come from? – “their former resistance of divine light.” The more resistance there is, the more blindness there will be.  

Commenting on John 12:39-40, Matthew Henry notes that God’s Word speaks, with “reserve”, about spiritual blindness. Alluding to the prophecy, in Isaiah 6:13, regarding a remnant – “the holy seed”, he says that this “reserve” is “sufficient to keep a door of hope open to particular persons; for each one might say, ‘Why may I not be of that remnant?'”

There is hope. Let us pray that more people will come to have this testimony: “I once was blind, but now I see” (John 9:25).

 * Matthew Henry comments on Romans 9:18,22-24.

“Those who are saved must thank God only, and those who perish must  thank themselves… Sinners fit themselves for hell but it is God who fits saints for heaven.”

Let us never blame God for our spiritual blindness. When the Lord opens our eyes, let us praise Him. Let us say, “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23). Let us say, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1).

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