Unconditional Election in john 9
When we encounter the blind man of John 9, it is typical to hear preachers and laymen alike follow the Lord Jesus in rebuking those who would claim that all sicknesses are judgments from God. And they are right for doing so, for we do live in a fallen world. The problem is that most preachers don’t stop there but claim that sicknesses sometimes just are, and this is because we live in a fallen world. On the surface, such a statement is met with an “Amen.” But there is a huge exegetical and theological problem with it, for the Lord doesn’t say that this man was born blind just ‘cuz. No. This man was born blind “that the works of God should be revealed in him” (v.3). What we commonly hear in the Lord’s rejection of the bad logic of the disciples our own, even worse, logic that states:
MP: We live in a cursed world where all men suffer various sicknesses independently
of their obedience or disobedience to God’s Law.
mp: Sicknesses fall, therefore, indiscriminately upon all men.
C: Therefore, all sicknesses have no teleological function.
We know from Scripture that the Fall brought about terrible consequences, this is true. However, where does Scripture teach that sickness, illness, etc fallen upon certain individuals because the world functions that way? It is true that the world does bring forth thorns and thistles, and that intrinsic to the very fabric of our existence there is pain and suffering and loss and death – but can we subtract God from these affairs without becoming, contradictorial as it may sound, Christian Deists? I don’t think we can. The Lord states that sin is not the cause of this man’s blindness, but He does not state that his blindness was otherwise without a specific cause and purpose. Not at all. To believe that the Lord is denying that sickness does have a specific cause, and that related to the very plan of God from all eternity as it plays out in the present, is to misread the text and to make God’s activity dependent upon man. This is bad exegesis and very bad theology (it is, as I’ve already stated, “Christian” Deism).
Rather than supposing that blindness is accidental opportunity for Christ to display His healing power, which is what we so easily read into the text, we would do well to note that the Lord states explicitly that the man was born blind “that the works of God should be revealed in him,” because that settles the issue almost entirely. I say almost entirely since we have the blind man’s own words to verify this for us when he states:
“Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened
the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God,
He could do nothing.”
In this testimony, we see that the man’s blindness is connected directly to the Messianc work of Christ. If Jesus was not the Christ, he could not open this man’s eyes. However, Jesus did open his eyes. Therefore, Jesus is the Christ. The blind man understood something Arminians don’t: his own blindness was foreordained to be that the works of God – not simply in healing his eyes, but in granting him spiritual sight and eternal life – might be revealed in him. God wanted this man to believe in Christ; therefore, He ordained that the man be born blind.
Christ’s ministry was not accidental, it was precisely fine tuned to the will of the Father, even in details that we, living in the post-enlightenment era, would consider to be non-essential to salvation, or unimportant, or, dare we say it, happenstance. To interpret this man’s blindness as an accidental opportunity for witnessing is to not read the text at all. God’s plan to reveal Himself to this man is the reason why he was born blind! It is the reason why this man was granted the gift of faith to believe in the Messiah. God determined that the man should be born blind, be healed, and come to faith in Christ.
The God of the Bible is Sovereign.
He doesn’t conform to the whims of man or the untamable thrusts of “Nature.” That isn’t the God of the Bible, but the “god” of Deism.