BLINDED BY the god of this world
2 Corinthians 4:1-4 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them, which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
The ministry of Paul, and his fellow laborers, was to preach and teach the unrestricted New Covenant, described in the preceding chapter of this letter, which God had extended to all mankind - the law of God that replaced both the Patriarchal Law, as well as the law which was designed especially for the Jewish nation, known as the Law of Moses. It was the mercy of God that was extended to Paul through His Son, Jesus Christ, by which Paul was called into this ministry. Paul says, that, in carrying out this mission, we faint not, that is, regardless of the trials and tribulations they faced preaching the gospel of Christ, they were determined to complete the course in life designed for them by God, realizing that God would sustain them in doing so.
In order to accomplish the mission of his ministry, it was necessary for Paul, and all other first-century, inspired preachers of the word of God, to remove themselves from the influence of human wisdom, and teach only the truths of God found in His inspired word that was given them. In making this point, Paul uses three words that are associated with the worldly wisdom of false preachers and teachers - dishonesty, craftiness, and deceit(fully). Paganism, and most Jewish tradition, were both founded on these covetous characteristics. In order for preachers to teach the pure word of God, without adding to, or deleting from its content, or compromising its truths, these three unrighteous characteristics must be renounced. In order for the truth of God to be manifested, it is to be revealed clearly, plainly, and with its content pure and unadulterated. Indeed, without relenting to the persecution he received from those opposed to Christ, Paul faithfully discharged the duties of his God-given ministry to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ at every opportunity before him.
In faithfully, and truthfully dispensing the Word of God, it must be presented in a manner that appeals to every man's conscience in the sight of God. Although it can, at times, be misdirected, God has given every man a conscience, that is, the ability to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. God's word identifies both right conduct, as well as that which is wrong. Paul, and other gospel preachers, to be affective, fully and openly, declared God's word in its entirety, and relied on the conscience of man to monitor, accept, obey, and be saved by it.
It is just as true today as it was in the time of Paul's preaching, that the gospel of Christ, even if truly and forthrightly presented, is often not understood by its hearers. Paul says, ...if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. Those that fail to understand and accept the gospel are identified as them that are lost - those that have no hope of salvation in their present condition - those that are destined to die in their sins, unless submitting to the will of God.
God's New Testament gospel of salvation, through His Son, Christ Jesus, is hidden from those that see it as foolishness; it is hidden from those that refuse to give up the lifestyle, which the gospel message condemns; it is hidden from those that refuse to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. If the gospel of Christ is veiled, as spoken of in the preceding chapter of this letter, the veil does not cover the word of God, but, rather, the heart of the hearer. The gospel is not hidden from the hearer, but the hearer is hidden from understanding the gospel message, by refusing to accept it over his own human will.
And what is the source of spiritual blindness? Paul tells us that it is due to Satan! ...the god of this world (that is Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not. In other scriptures Satan is referred to as the prince of this world (John 12:31), and as the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). The fact that Satan is referred to here as "god" does mean a divine being, but rather as one to whom erring souls give their allegiance. To those that follow him, Satan becomes their "god" of this world. It is these followers of Satan that are blinded to the gospel of Christ and, as such, are lost, having no hope of the eternal salvation that it contains. If allowed to rule their lives, the god of this world will blind the hearts of all mankind from the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God - the true God of Heaven.