Years ago a book was published called The Closing of the American Mind. It decried changes in the educational system. Far more serious is the closing of the spiritual mind. By spiritual mind we mean openness to the true things of God. The mind is the understanding, the intellect, where thoughts appear and are processed — or not.
The apostle Paul wrote that the Jews had closed minds when it came to Christ.
But their minds were closed. For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read. It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away. 2 Corinthians 3.14.
The word closed, in the Greek language, is literally “hardened.” It describes the thought process that resists change and raises barriers against persuasion. It clings to its own beliefs.
Religion closes the mind
The Jews had created their own religion out of the Mosaic covenant. The Pharisees added to the law so that their laws of tradition weighed down the covenant until it collapsed into legalism. The Sadducees pared back the law to the five books of Moses and negated the spirit world, so that they adjusted themselves to the world into a progressive attitude.
Both types of religion persist today, in many forms, both inside and outside the family of God. Some people bind what God has not bound. Others allow what God does not allow. (Check Matthew 16.19; 18.18.) In both cases, innovations are adopted and defended. Christ cannot penetrate such minds.
Sin closes the mind
When sin captures the body and soul, the mind closes down. It justifies the practice of ungodliness. It turns the reins over to the heart. It makes one double-minded, James 4.8. Sin and holiness cannot coexist, the life of the Spirit and the life of the flesh are incompatible, so the mind changes God to accept or ignore its unrighteousness.
Atheism closes the mind
Those who deny the existence of God have closed their minds to his glory, even though creation proclaims it, Psalm 19.1ff. Atheism is a mental decision to deny God a part in the human equation. It probably has many paths leading to it, but it is not unfair to say that it wrests control from God to put man and natural forces in command. The mind therefore invents a closed system and disallows the divine power.
Christ removes the closed mind
Some think it is useless to teach the Good News to others, alleging closed minds everywhere. But the seed of God’s word will in some people find openness to the truth. Many Jews in the first century were converted by the power and persuasiveness of the truth of the message. Many people can be turned today to obey God as well.
It is imperative, then, that we proclaim Christ to everyone. To do so we must
- open our own closed minds — believing the gospel is preached in a building by a professional behind a pulpit;
- know the Bible and learn how to present the message to others;
- cease from judging who might or might not be receptive;
- leave all other subjects aside such as politics, social movements, philosophies, and theories in order to make the Bible our own message.
An American commercial years ago said, “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” It is wasted in the worst sense when we refuse to let Christ transform our minds so that they dwell upon and rejoice in the mindful salvation of God.