II CORINTHIANS 3:16: “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever experienced total darkness? In total darkness, you can have your eyes wide open and still not be able to see. This is true both physically and spiritually.
I will never forget the time I experienced total darkness. We were taking a tour of some underground limestone caverns in Central Texas. As we wove down the path we were able to marvel at the limestone formations and their luminous appearance through the light that had been provided. However, when we reached the deepest part of the cavern the guide turned off all the lights. I experienced total darkness for the first time in my life!
In the spiritual realm, total darkness is a bit harder to identify. The reason for this is that the person who is walking in darkness does not even know it. There are no lights that are turned off in the depth of one’s personal cavern. The individual who is walking in spiritual darkness actually thinks they are walking in the light. This is why spiritual darkness is much more difficult to overcome. You cannot simply flip on a switch and bring someone into the light.
Paul gives us an example in the Jewish people of his day. He says,
- “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.” II Corinthians 3:14-15 NKJV
Spiritual darkness has nothing to do with our eyes. It has everything to do with our hearts. We can even open up the Word of (God) Light and still be in spiritual darkness. This was the condition of the Jews who read the Old Testament but did so with a veil over their heart. As a result, they missed the very Messiah that they were hoping for. Jesus walked among them and they did not even see Him.
Someone can even go to church and still be walking in spiritual darkness. They can hear the words of life and yet there is no change in their life. Is there any hope? Paul gives us this wonderful assurance.
- “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
There is something we do not talk about much in the church today. That is repentance. Repentance literally means to turn, to turn 180 degrees. If you are walking due South, it means to turn around and walk due North. It is a change of mind, will, and direction. It is at this intersection, and only at this intersection, that we meet the Lord Jesus and the Spirit of God!
Only the Holy Spirit can lead us to Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ can heal our spiritual blindness. And, only repentance brings us to His Cross and provision of grace. When we repent, when we turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away!
How often do we need to do this? Is it just once when we come to faith in Christ? Or, is repentance a continual pathway for the believer? Repentance is both an action and an attitude. As we walk with Jesus, in the Spirit, we are constantly being brought to the crossroads of repentance. We are called to turn to the Lord. This happens moment by moment, step by step, from degree to degree. It is the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives!
- “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” II Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV
The Holy Spirit is the one who leads us into the liberty that is in Jesus Christ. He is always at work removing the veil, revealing God’s will, and calling us to maturity in Christ. What is our response? It is repentance. It is a willing heart that will listen and turn at the Spirit’s leading. It is an open heart that will hear the voice of the Spirit through God’s Word. It is a transformed heart that is growing in the light of His Truth!
The only one who can take away the veil is our Lord Jesus Christ. The only one who can lead us to the place of conviction and repentance is the Holy Spirit. And, the only one who can turn at the Spirit’s call is me! I cannot turn anyone else’s heart. I can only turn mine. Grace meets me and gives me the power to turn. And, when I do, I meet the transforming power of Jesus Christ and I am ushered into His saving light!
Finally, while I cannot turn someone else’s heart, I can pray for the Holy Spirit to lead them to the place of conviction and repentance. I can share the Word of God with them. And, I can live out the light and love of Christ in me toward them. I can model repentance and the liberty of the Spirit as I allow my life to be daily transformed. As I do this, I can bring all of heaven to bear upon their pathway. I can let my light shine and point the way!
Lord, I come to you humbly today and ask you to take away the veil from my heart. Search me and know me and see if there is any darkness in my life that needs to be transformed by your light. And, when I hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit calling me to turn, may I do so in the power of Your grace, and may I be transformed by your marvelous light!
Take away the veil, open my eyes, and let me walk in Your light!
In Jesus Name!