3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
Not everyone is favorable to the gospel. Some are negative volition toward God and His gospel.
The “but “here qualifies the previous verse, where the team set forth the truth plainly.
even if [since] our gospel is veiled,
The “if” assumes that this statement is true. It is a fact that Satan obscures the gospel to those without Christ. There will always be those who reject the gospel message. Some of the critics of Paul and his team might have indicated that their “bold” approach to ministry was unwarranted.
Regardless of his claim to preach openly about the gospel, Paul’s critics asserted that his message was obscure.
it is veiled to those who are perishing,
The problem of rejecting the gospel was not in the message but in those who heard its message. The gospel itself is “veiled” to the lost (1 Co 1:18).
God divides people into two groups: 1) those who believe in Christ and 2) those who do not. God justifies one group and condemns the other (the “perishing”). There is a difference in their destiny. These are people who are eternally lost to fellowship with God and His heaven. The difference between being lost and saved is the gospel of Christ.
Rejection of the gospel is due to the heart condition of those who hear it.
Not everyone will respond positively to our gospel presentation. The problem with lack of response to our ministry often has nothing to do with how we do it but with hard hearts of those who hear it. It is not the fault of the message nor the messenger necessarily. The responsibility lies in the heart of the hearer of the gospel; the problem is an unregenerate state of mind. There is a connection between unbelief and regeneration. This is an issue beyond doubt; it is deliberate opposition to the gospel. The failure to accept the message rests in negative volition. That is why it is impossible to educate people to become a Christian. The problem lies in who they are; they are spiritually dead to God.
The veil of unbelief identifies one who is eternally lost. If anyone finds the gospel to be folly (1 Co 1:18), they are spiritually blind. The greatness of the gospel does not rest on those who are not beholden to it. Genuine preachers of the gospel do not change their message to make it more palatable, as some people do (2 Co 11:4). There will always be those who will reject the gospel (1 Co 2:14).
The preaching of the gospel puts people in a crisis of decision. There is no third option. The issue rests on one’s attitude toward the gospel, whether their heart is hard to its message or not. The beauty of creation remains beautiful whether or not the blind can see it. It is the gospel that brings scandal to the heart (1 Co 1:23; 2:2). The issue is the fundamental nature of the gospel, not how someone delivers it. Jesus Himself and what He did are the stone that stumbles people (Ro 9:33). This kind of message does not pander to selfish aspirations, the motivations that come from satanic blindness and hardness of heart.