By: Gary L. Hutchens
None is so blind as he who will not see, and none is so deaf as he who will not hear. The apostle Paul wrote down the formula for the development of faith: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). Either by listening to God’s word being taught, or by personally reading the scriptures, a person has to learn- hear- the teachings of God’s word in order to develop faith in God.
But many people do not want to hear the Bible being taught, and they have no interest in reading the scriptures for themselves. Even when, on occasion, they find themselves confronted with some teaching from God’s word, they ignore it, actively put it out of their mind. Jesus spoke of such individuals: “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matt. 13:13).
God sent Jesus into this world with the message of truth that can set us free from the guilt and condemnation of our sin (Jn. 8:32). But many people do not want to hear the truth that will set them free. God grieves when we will not listen; “Oh, that My people would listen to Me,” (Ps. 81:13). Refusal to listen is not a light matter; it is rebellion against God. “…this is a rebellious people…Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;” (Isa. 30:9). God described the Jews in this very way to Ezekiel: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see but does not see, and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.” (Ezk. 12:2).
Many of the Jews gathered on Pentecost had seen with their own eyes the miracles and signs Jesus did, openly demonstrating that He truly is the Son of God and our Savior. Still, they refused to believe. The apostle Peter rebuked them for their self-imposed blindness: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-” (Acts 2:22). They saw the miracles, they heard His teachings, but they closed their eyes and stopped their ears.
In His letters to the seven churches, Jesus repeatedly emphasized that they pay attention to the instructions He was giving in those letters, written down by John: “He who has an ear, let him hear…” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). But hearing the truth, seeing the truth and recognizing it to be the truth is only the starting point.
When we open our eyes to see and our ears to hear, then we must open our heart to obey. We need a receptive heart; “Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.” (2 Chron. 30:12). Seeing, hearing and believing, without obedience, will leave us short of salvation and eternal life. Speaking of Jesus, the Hebrews writer emphasized this very point: “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” (Heb. 5:9).
Are you ready to open your eyes to see and your ears to hear the gospel message of salvation written down in God’s word? If your answer is yes, now open your heart to obey…
Gary L. Hutchens