From Plainer Words

Plainer Words....The Law of Spiritual Illumination

Posted in: 2003
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 26, 2008 - 3:56:29 PM

Wednesday, June 11, 2003


The title of this Plainer Words is the summation of my thoughts on how the Lord, progressively, sheds additional light on His Word. For want of a description of the processes by which we move from faith-to-faith, I have chosen to call it “The Law of Spiritual Illumination.” There is a fundamental flow of truth to believers. It comes from God. He advances His truth to the believer when he is ready to receive and acknowledge it. Many truths in the Bible are easily discerned, even by the natural man (1 Corinthians 2:11). The natural man, with the spirit of man, can understand John 3:16. The unsaved can understand that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Even many of the unsaved Americans know what John 3:16 means. This is evidenced by signs, strategically located at sporting events that are televised, which only read, “John 3:16.”

Many natural men know the implications of the verse. They choose not to acknowledge it. If, on the other hand, a sign appeared in the end-zone during the telecast of the Super Bowl, boldly stating “Romans 3:28,” they wouldn’t understand. Sadly, many Christians would have to look it up: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” The natural man cannot discern spiritual things, such as, the truth of “justification by faith” because they are discerned by the Spirit of God within the believer.

The Ninth Chapter of John should be read in its entirety. It depicts the elementary progression of faith as the Lord sheds additional light on a man who was born blind.

John 9 concerns a man who was stone-blind since birth. “And Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from birth” (John 9:1). His disciples asked what so many Christians ask when they see someone who is tragically infirmed: “Master,” they asked, “who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (v. 2). The disciples were not “politically correct;” otherwise, they would have referred to his blindness as “visually impaired.”

The Lord Jesus told them that it was neither because of the man’s sin, nor his parent’s, but “that the works of God should be made manifest in him”(v. 3).

Verse 5 seems to be the key to the chapter: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” As the “Light of the world,” this speaks to us of “lighten,” or “enlighten.” Jesus Christ not only caused the man to see, physically (verses 6-7) but also, spiritually, as we shall note.

The neighbors questioned whether the one that now could see; was he the beggar? (v. 8). When the neighbors asked the man, he answered , Yes, “I am he” who was blind (v. 9). The neighbors asked, in verse 10, how did he receive his sight? Notice what he replied: “A man that is called Jesus made clay, anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash’: and I went and washed, and I received my sight” (v. 11).

He acknowledged all that he understood at the time, “A man called Jesus.” All he knew was that Jesus was THE MAN who gave him his sight. At this point, his enlightenment, or illumination was elementary. A man called Jesus caused light, physical and spiritual, to shine in unto him. The Lord Jesus, as the Light of the world, commanded the light to shine out of darkness, and it shined into the blind man’s heart to give the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The man that was blind now has this treasure in his earthen vessel (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).

His neighbors took him to the Pharisees (v. 13). It just happened to be on the Sabbath day when Christ opened the man’s eyes (v. 14). We see that the Pharisees, in verse 15, asked him how he received his sight. He repeated the account of the clay and his washing in the pool and that he, now, sees.

Verse 16 says that some of the Pharisees said Jesus was certainly not of God because He didn’t keep the Sabbath day. Others even said that He was a sinner, and sinners can’t do such miracles.

In verse 17, they continued to question the man. They wanted to know what the man had to say about Jesus. Notice, the “Law of Spiritual Illumination” kicking in as the man replies, “He is a prophet.” When he was first asked about receiving his sight, he said, “A man called Jesus.”

Now, in front of the Pharisees, he calls Jesus “a prophet.”

The understanding of the one who was previously blind had his understanding move on ―from Jesus being a man to being a prophet. His acknowledgment of the light he was given resulted in greater light being shed on the matter. The principle (or law) of progressive, spiritual illumination was working within the heart and mind of the man born blind.

Verses 18-23 tell about the Pharisees calling his parents to meet with them. The Pharisees didn’t believe the testimony of their son. They asked, is this your son and was he born blind? And, what happened to cause him to see? They said, “Yes this is our son and he was born blind.” But, they refrained from saying who caused him to see. The parents, who were fearful of the Jews, said, “He is of age; ask him. He shall speak for himself.”

It seems to have been common knowledge that if anyone confessed that Jesus was the Christ, they would be excommunicated (v.22). For a synagogue attending Jew, the threat of being cast out of the synagogue was foreboding. They would, then, be labeled “as sinners.”

Frustrated with the parents, they called, again, the son to speak for himself. The Pharisees, then, said, “Give God praise: we know this man (Jesus) is a sinner” (v. 24). The man answered, saying, “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind now I see” (v. 25).

Verse 26 informs us that the Pharisees wanted to know exactly what did Jesus do to him.

In verse 27, his reply is remarkable. Standing before the powerful religious-political group - the Pharisees, this former blind beggar is empowered to speak boldly saying, I already told you, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Can it be that you wish to become His disciples also? Wow!

The Pharisees go ballistic in verses 28 and 29; they stormed and jeered at him, then sneered, saying, “Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses; we know from whence he is.”

The ex-blind beggar (vs. 31-33) spoke as one having authority, Well, this is astonishing! Here, a Man has opened my eyes and, yet, you do not know where He comes from—that is amazing! We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone fears God and worships Him and does His will, He will listen to him. Since the beginning of time, it was never heard of that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If that Man were not of God, He would not be able to do this.

After such a reply, the Pharisees resorted to the only thing the “religious” can do when overwhelmed with truth—they resorted to name calling. “Thou wast altogether born in sins.” How dare you teach us. Then, they exercise the final solution: “They cast him out” (v. 34).

The fact that he “was cast out” set him free. The yoke of bondage was removed, and he was given a greater revelation. Many of us were set free when we were “cast out” of a church and being outside the camp is when we were given greater and continual light of the Word. This is the way it works!

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He found Him …;” He didn’t find Jesus. The Lord Jesus found him. “… Does thou believe on the Son of God? (v.35).

He answered and said, “Who is He, that I might believe on Him?” (v.36).

“And Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.’ And he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him” (v.37).

The spiritual progression for the man was that Jesus was a man, a prophet, and the Son of God. This is what I’ve called “The Law of Spiritual Illumination.” Acknowledge what you believe, today, and be willing to believe additional revelation as the Spirit leads you on to higher ground. The man born blind first acknowledged that the Lord Jesus was A MAN, then, he moved to the next phase of additional illumination by saying Jesus was A PROPHET, then, he received the ultimate revelation by acknowledging that Jesus was the SON OF GOD. This is a beautiful picture of someone moving from faith-to-faith.

Verses 39-41 close this chapter. The nugget which pops out at me is—I came into this world to make the blind see, and that those who see may become blind (v. 39). The blind man represents the spiritually blind who see the Light, and the Pharisees represent those who presume to have spiritual sight but become blinder when they reject truth.

Full revelation was given the man, who was born blind, when he was set at liberty from the synagogue (church). As long as one is inside “the camp” (the religious camp), spiritual forward movement is withheld.

I’m persuaded that most of my readers have experienced the fact that advancing onward and upward, in truth, leads us outside “the camp” of denominationalism.

May our Great God and Savior bless every effort as we endeavor to walk worthy of our calling.

Tom L. Ballinger

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