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The Man Born Blind

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2022 12:01 am

The Man Born Blind

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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January 15, 2022 12:01 am

In Jerusalem, Jesus' disciples encountered a man who was blind from birth. Was he born with this affliction because of some sin his parents committed? Today, R.C. Sproul considers what we learn from this encounter in John 9.

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Why do I call Romans eight. Best bottle because it is Christians for centuries.

I think of trying to Romans eight because it gives us the gospel in one chapter talks about the doctrine of the Trinity, father, son and Holy Spirit, and I had a deacon one time saying to me that this was in some way calling into question inspiration of all of Scripture and is in all of Scripture breaks and the greatest and I said well, just answer this question if you gratuitous to live dry read the first few chapters of Chronicles, which is a list of names are driving. Romans eight and I think the answer is always Romans eight because it says everything that needs to be said about the gospel in one chapter. Romans eight a teaching series with Derek Thomas to learn more, visit Lincoln series. When Jesus healed the man born blind. The disciples asked who would send the causes blindness. They made an assumption that they shouldn't of made they pose the question to Jesus as an either or question and committed a logical fallacy of the false dilemma. Assuming that it had to either be the sin of the man or the sin of the man's parents the buses the pain and calamity always the result of sin.

Jesus answered in a way that seems a little hard. Is it possible that suffering is part of God's plan today of Renewing Your Mind.

We present another message from Dr. RC Sproul series hard sayings of the Bible. I remember visiting a woman in the hospital who was dying from uterine cancer and in the last days of her life. She was greatly distressed, not only from her physical ailment, but from a profound grief in her spirit and in her soul and she wanted to talk to me and here's what she asked me. She explained to me that as a young woman she had had an abortion and now she was dying from uterine cancer and she was convinced that her disease was a direct consequence of her abortion and she believed that she was suffering this affliction as a direct result of the judgment of God upon her and so she was afraid of death and afraid of facing her creator. Because of this enormous burden of guilt that she had and she asked me if I agreed with her assessment that God was punishing her for her sin and you may be surprised at the answer I gave to her. Obviously, the usual pastoral response to such an agonizing question from somebody in the throes of Beth would be to say of course not. This is not a judgment of God on your sin, but I had to be honest with the woman and so the reply I gave to her was simply I don't know. It could be. Perhaps it is perhaps it isn't. But you're asking me to fathom the secret counsel of God and to read the invisible hand of his Providence.

And so I don't know why you are suffering. In this manner. I do know however that whatever the cause of it. Ultimately is that there is an answer for your guilt and we talked about the mercy of Christ and is across and of the assurance that she could have of forgiveness of her sin and she died in faith, and I remember that very vividly because I was a very young minister at the time, but the question that that woman braced is raised every day by people who are suffering affliction, and it leads me to come now to the way in which that question is addressed in one of the difficult passages we find in the New Testament. One of the hard saying which is recorded for us in the ninth chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, which gives us the story of Jesus healing of the man born blind. Let's look at this text and see if it sheds light on the question this woman asked me from her deathbed, and that question that is repeated by countless others in similar circumstances and the beginning of chapter 9 of John's Gospel. We read these words now as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth and his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind.

Jesus answered, neither this man nor his parents send but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day for the night is coming when no one can work as long as I am in the world I am the light of the world that we can read over this incident quickly, too quickly and this some of the significance of it. We notice of the disciples point to this poor fellow who had been born blind and they raise this question who sin was it his own, or his parents, and Jesus responds by saying neither was neither this man sin were his parents and we could jump to the gratuitous conclusion that Jesus is saying that the man born blind with sin less or that his parents were sin less and we would be ill advised to come to such a conclusion.

This man, who was born blind was also born a sinner just like everybody else and he had parents who also were sinners but the greatest danger we have in interpreting this passage is rushing to the conclusion that the disciples were completely out of order for asking the question they did and I want to explore that in a little more detail and ask why would disciples of Jesus, who were not completely theologically ignorant ever suppose that the root cause of this man's blindness was related either to the man sin or to the parents sin had they not read the book of Job where the book of Job and its entirety addresses the question of a man who was innocent, who is severely afflicted for the glory of God and you would think that with the outstanding importance of the whole volume of Old Testament literature, but no one would ever ask the question who sin is it is if there had to be somebody sin that was the root cause of the man's affliction, but as I said the disciples who asked their teacher. This question were not utterly ignorant of the biblical content that relates to the question of suffering they made an assumption that they shouldn't of made their error was in reducing the options to two when there was another alternative. They pose the question to Jesus as an either or question and committed the logical fallacy of the false dilemma. Assuming that it had to either be the sin of the man or the sin of the man's parents now again what they were assuming was that somebody's sin was the direct cause of the man's suffering and I ask you why would they make such an assumption because the Scriptures from the account of the fall onward make it very clear that the root cause for suffering for disease and for death in this world is sin, and so the disciples were correct in assuming that somehow sin was involved in this affliction and this suffering because where there is no sin. There is no death where there is no sin.

There is no suffering and we look forward to heaven where sin will be erased from the presence of the people of God and one of the consequences of the erasure and eradication of sin altogether in the glorification of God's people is at the same time, the removal of all pain, suffering and death shall be no more. There will be no blindness in heaven no deafness in heaven.

No affliction of any kind in heaven, precisely because there will be no sin in heaven. So the plot thickens a little bit when we understand that sin in general is the root cause of suffering in general. But now the general concept of the relationship between sin and suffering is particularized in the disciples question and it becomes a specific question of a direct correspondence between individuals. Sin and an individual's suffering.

Now that is what the book of Job is written to dispel and the danger that we have is assuming that any person who suffers suffers in direct proportion to the sin that they have committed.

Again, Job stands out as a beacon to gainsay that conclusion because for all intents and purposes, Job was innocent, compared with others who were far more wicked than he, and yet the degree of suffering.

He was called upon to bear was astronomical compared with the suffering and afflictions that others far more guilty than he had to endure. We remember the question that the psalmist raised about the apparent inequities that abound in this world. Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. That very question should alert us to the reality that in this world there is not a one to one correspondence between a person's suffering, and their particular sin.

For the most part we suffer far less then our sin would deserve. We live in the most part, under the gracious hand of the mercy of God's providence upon our lives, but then we asked the question what does God ever visit people with affliction because of some particular sin.

What does the Bible say about that only look at the case of Miriam in the Old Testament, whom God afflicted directly with leprosy, and God did that because of Miriam's sin. In that case there was a direct correspondence between her sin and her affliction not only in the case of Miriam, but in the case of the death of David's son. That child was punished. Not because of anything the child did, but that child was stricken with a fatal disease as a direct result of God's judgment upon David and we could give countless examples of this sort of thing in the Scriptures where God does send suffering as a punishment for a specific sin. As I say, the disciples were not ignorant of the Scriptures.

They understood that there were times when God would in fact send illness or disease or affliction as judgment as punishment for sin, and so they weren't out in left field in assuming that as a possibility for this particular blind man, nor was this woman, this dear woman that I met with in the hospital who was dying. Was she not completely out of bounds for asking the question, is my pain and suffering a result of God's punitive corrective wrath on my sin. It could have been.

And for me to say no that's impossible would have been to give her false comfort. Now this is difficult for us to look at and to deal with and I hope we can see the careful nuances that need to be made.

What the Bible teaches is one there are times when God does send affliction and pain and illness as a judgment upon people. In some cases with the unbeliever. It can be an expression of his punitive wrath.

In the case of the believer. It can be a manifestation of his corrective wrath that is the wrought of God by which he chastens those whom the bluffs but we are warned again not only in the book of Job, but in this ninth chapter of John never to jump to the conclusion that I particular example or a particular incidence of pain and suffering or illness is a direct response or in a direct correspondence to a person's particular sin. That's the beauty of this text. Again, the disciples made a false assumption.

They assumed that it had to be somebody specific sin that was the root cause of this man's blindness in our Lord answers the disciples question by correcting their false assumptions again. They said sin was it this man or his parents, and Jesus said clearly what neither the reason why this man was born blind is not because God was punishing the man and not because God was punishing the man's parents, Jesus, and there was another recent and because there's another reason that should alert us to the possibility that there might always be another reason for the pain that we are called to endure in the afflictions, we may have to bear. And Jesus gives that reason, as we see here in the text.

Let's look at again in verse three of chapter 9 of John's Gospel, Jesus answers the question who sin this man or his parents. He said neither this man nor his parents, but that the works of God should be revealed in him help. What does Jesus mean by that will how was the work of God revealed in this man just so happened this man who had been born blind and live in darkness.

From the beginning of his life and who had parents who were brokenhearted that they had a child who lacked vision who was abnormal, who didn't enjoy the benefit of site like all the rest of the children growing up and they must've scratch their head and ask themselves the question a million times why God have you allowed this to happen. This is something we've done. Surely it's not something that the baby did. Maybe it's a reflection of your judgment upon us and I'm sure that those parents of this blind trial wrestled with it and is the child himself became a man he wrestled with it and he was asking why why why now this man and his parents had an enormous advantage over most people who endure this kind of pain and affliction.

They were able to have their question answered directly by the son of God, where most of us who endure similar problems live throughout our whole lives and never know in this world.

The answer to the question why, but when Jesus provides support all of us here is that there is an answer to the question why we may not know what it is, in every circumstance, but at least in this circumstance he gives the answer and he said the reason for this man's affliction was that the work of God might be made manifest.

How was it when I wonder what this man is thinking in heaven right now, this minute, as he's hearing his story repeated again for thousands to hear and he can say to his friends in heaven as he enjoys his perfect eyesight, and indeed the vision of God in his loveliness right now you know how God used me in this work, I lived in darkness all my life wondering why wondering why until one day the son of God came down the road and before the watching world. He and displayed his identity as the Savior, and is the son of God. God appointed me from the foundation of the world to be a witness to his Majesty to his grace and to his saving power. I didn't know it at the time but had I known that God was going to use me in this way for his glory and for the glorification of his son. I would've been the first to volunteer to spend my whole life in darkness, that the light of God might be made manifest.

That's the lesson of this text and it's a lesson that we need to carry into our own lives when we don't know why we suffer.

We must trust from the teaching of Jesus. On this occasion God knows what he is doing and that he works in and through the pain in the afflictions of his people for his glory and for their sanctification on the surface. It's hard, but the difficulty is greatly alleviated when we hear our Lord explaining the mystery in this one case, God will at times. Call us into this pain for his.

That doesn't necessarily mean her pain will be erased, but it does give us a much broader perspective on her suffering. Thanks for listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Saturday.

As we continue Dr. RC Sproul series the hard sayings of the Bible. Jesus isn't the only one is misunderstood in the Bible.

Some sayings of the apostles and prophets are hard to interpret to. For example, how are we to understand the rapture more was Rahab being honorable when she lied. RC addressed 15 of these hard questions and we would like to get all of the lessons in your hands for your donation of any amount we will provide a digital download of the entire series. You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or you can make your request online and Renewing Your Brett you have questions about other things you've read the Bible you can receive answers in real time when you go to ask Liggett here we have qualified team members daily by around the world Monday through Saturday to answer your questions, you can be confident the work quickly to provide clear, concise, and trustworthy answers. If you have a biblical or theological question. Just go to ask God Liggett here.ort before we go today. Here's RC with a final thought force. I think that we can learn other lessons from the story of the man born blind. How he responded to his healing and how his parents responded to it as well. The Pharisees were angry that Jesus healed the man because he healed them on the Sabbath day. They had no sense of compassion for the man's suffering. They were only filled with hostility against the one who redeemed him and so the Pharisees asked the blind man. The man who'd been born blind. How he had received his side and he said he put clay on my eyes and I washed, and I see and they said the blind man again. What you say about him because he opened your eyes. He said he's a prophet but the Jews did not believe concerning him that he had been blind and received his sight until they called his parents of him who had received his sight, and they asked them, saying, is this your son who you say was born blind. How then the CLC.

His parents answered and said, we know that this is our son and that he was born blind by what means he now sees we do not know or who opened his eyes. We do not know. He is of age, ask him. So again, they called him and said to him give God the glory. We know that the man who healed you as a sinner answered and said, whether he is a sinner or not.

I do not know one thing I now once I was blind and now I see a few things of the Bible have engendered more controversy than the rapture. What is the rapture and how does its timing relate to the second coming of Christ. RC will address that hard saying of the Bible next Saturday here on Renewing Your Mind.

I hope you enjoy this

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