“…so that the works of God may be revealed in him…” – Unconditional Election in John 9

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.”

           (vv. 32-33)

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.



6 thoughts on ““…so that the works of God may be revealed in him…” – Unconditional Election in John 9

  1. Heather says:

    So what are you saying, Hiram? ;)

    Good point, btw.

    So often I forget to rest in the knowledge that absolutely nothing passes by the King’s throne without His full awareness and approval of it’s role in His overall plan.


  2. christianclarityreview says:

    good post on a good subject that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Most arminians seek to force a paradigm of emotions on Scripture simply to have a nice thing to say about a Jesus that can be bought and sold. The resulting confusion dishonors God as well as obscuring simple truth.

    Every small detail of everything is made and controlled by God. Everything, even things that in a false common sense seek to force a free will explanation is specifically created for God’s purpose, to include all evil. Just as it is not an accident the man was born physically blind, it is not an accident most are physically born spiritually dead as regards Christ and must be born again. Some are born again in Christ in the womb by the same power of the same Word of God that healed the blind man.

    2Corinthians 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.


    In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen


  3. Hiram says:

    Amen, Heather :)

    I’ve recently been coming to see the sinfulness of complaining against any circumstance, really. If it has come to pass, then it is for God’s glory and my good. Idolatry seems to be the root of frustration when things don’t go my way. It’s grievous to see how sinful even our most familiar actions can be :S

    The grace of God in saving sinners and making them into His new creatures is truly amazing.


  4. Heather says:

    I’ve recently been coming to see the sinfulness of complaining against any circumstance, really. If it has come to pass, then it is for God’s glory and my good.

    I believe you are correct.
    Have you noticed that the list of offenses in Romans 1 is preceded by
    Because, knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were thankful. But they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
    Professing to be wise, they became fools
    and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.

    Lack of gratitude, pride and idolatry appear to be at the root of all forms of sinful behavior.

    I thought it was interesting, anyway.


  5. Hiram says:

    I have noticed! Have you noticed that Adam and Eve are precisely guilty of those things when they sin in Eden?

    They were not satisfied with what God had given them and coveted what was prohibited them (i.e. they were not thankful). They believed the serpent rather than God (i.e. they did not glorify God as God, and I think they committed idolatry [turning the created thing into an object of worship] by trusting and believing the word of the devil rather than the Word of God). And then came Cain and Lamech and, well, human history…


    Adam’s one act of disobedience was a complex one.


  6. Heather says:

    Have you noticed that Adam and Eve are precisely guilty of those things when they sin in Eden?

    Yes. Amazing correlation.
    It is my opinion that Romans 1 is Paul’s presentation of “the Fall” for his Gentile audience.

    I also happen to believe that the Ten Commandments address the sin committed in the Garden rebellion. But that’s a different topic, I suppose.

    Adam’s one act of disobedience was a complex one.
    Most definitely.


involve yourself

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.