Saturday, June 9, 2018

Why Does God Harden Hearts?

Does God Really Harden Hearts?

Question: Does God really harden hearts? If yes, why does God harden hearts and then condemn them to hell fire? That means, does God make people do what they do and then make them responsible for what they have done.

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

There are many places where it is mentioned that God has hardened peoples heart in the Bible and still he does that. God never changes, the way God has been in the past is the same character with which He still does live with now, and He will be the same in the future time too, in Him there is not a shadow of turning
(Mal 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17).

Fourteen times in Scripture a statement is made that God hardens someone’s heart, nine of those times are in relation to Pharaoh. Outside of Pharaoh, God has hardened the hearts of the Egyptians
(Exo 14:17), the spirit of Sihon, king of Heshbon (Deu 2:30), the northern kings in Canaan (Jos 11:20), Israel’s heart (Isa 63:17), which Paul summarized saying, "whom God wills He hardens" (Rom 9:18).

The same topic of hardening and the same question that you have asked, apostle Paul dealt it in details in
Rom 9:13-24, " 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"

We see in the above passages of Scripture two important things, that apostle Paul was expressing, one is predestination and the other is sovereignty. Predestination does not mean God creates some people to be sent to hell fire and some to heaven. But rather the first example of Jacob and Esau brings out the truth that all blessings that comes from God is not based on the works we do, but rather in choosing the things that God has already predetermined to show His blessings, any person can avail it and be blessed in this life and forever more. When Esau sold his birth right it was a poor choice of choosing sustenance and material things over spiritual and eternal things from God, that decided what kind of blessing Esau inherited, it was material existence for him and his family line (Gen 36:8; Jos 24:4; 25:29-34). Jacob inherited God and His promises of spiritual blessings, even though he could not work himself to deserve the least of the blessings God showered upon his life and his descendants (Gen 32:10). In other words, because Jacob sought God, God worked His righteousness through his life of faith. Because Esau was self-sufficient and did not honor the spiritual aspect of the blessings of God, he inherited only temporal blessings and not the eternal blessings of God's promises which actually went to Jacob.

Next we see Paul the apostle emphasizes that there is a fine place where God overrules over the decisions of men based on the righteousness of God and His justice. God has declared that all men are sinners and have fallen short of his expectations because of their sin nature from birth, and their inclination to sin when a chance appears before them to exercise their will (Rom 3:23; 8:7; Gal 5:17; Psa 58:3). In the natural life of a human, self becomes the president which causes him to sin against the voice and will of God. God wants humans to put Him in the seat of the president within their heart, because He is their Creator who has created them all for His glory. God deals with all sinners alike, based on his mercy. Apostle Paul says that when people ask, if God knows people even before they were born, why should He send them to hell for their sins when He already knew that they were going to sin. Paul himself answered that God does create everyone for His glory to be revealed to the world like Pharaoh, who was created by God. Paul then says God waited for Pharaoh to repent all the days of his life when with each intervention of God through Moses and His miracles. But Pharaoh being unrepentant, wanted to avoid the suffering and consequence of disobeying the voice of God, hence he actually hardened his own heart still more and sinned more than before against God. After God continued to shower His mercies abundantly on him by pardoning his mistakes when He did let go of God's people the Israelite's against the will of God, which shows how insincere he was and was lying to God as the Scripture reveals clearly "Pharaoh hardened his heart, to not let His people go this time also as he did before many times." (Exo 8:15, 32, 34). The LORD said to Moses a little later saying: “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants…” (Exo 10:1). Thus when we compare the above description of the fact and the truth that God revealed beforehand, it clearly shows that God and Pharaoh are seen as participating in the hardening. In other words, God knows what will happen to a particular person in a situation, because God is omniscient enough to know all things. But that does not mean God is influencing them to do sin and evil. Each person falters when he is tempted by his own desire of pride, lust of the flesh and eyes to fall in to evil. After all God cannot be tempted by evil to make it happen in partnership with man because He is Holy (Jam 1:13-14; 1 Pet 1:16).

Then, what does God actually do in hardening?

When a person is filled with Pride like Pharaoh was, and he wanted to avoid the consequence of his sins but does not want to repent of his sins and turn to God for salvation from its evil influence that works within, then after having mercy on them for a long long time from the day of their birth, God finally decides that Pharaoh's sin has come to fruition for judgment and then allows him to go his own way by stopping his warning and letting him go his own way, which led him to pursue the Israelite's in spite of knowing that it is not the will of God to pursue them. What happened? Pharaoh and his Egyptian army drowned in the red sea when Moses who parted the sea, this time after he and the Israelite's crossed the sea lifted up the same staff which was in his hand to close the sea again (Exod 14:27-28; 15:19). Pharaoh was arrogant and prideful to the very end, as Ex. 15:9-10 testifies, so God directly intervened to take out the chariot wheels and suddenly they realized God's direct intervention and anger against their evil doing which they have been doing without repentance, but it was too late as their pursuit to fulfill their own will to sin against God led them to physical death which is the result of hardening of heart (Exo 14:23, 24-27, 28; Psa 136:15).

So what have we learnt from the hardening of heart?

When anyone who is a unbeliever continues to harden their heart to throw away all the mercies of God with which he has delayed His judgment by suffering long for their sins of rebellion which always deserves physical death any movement, then God will show His wrath one day as they keep rejecting his mercies with which He has graciously shown to them His goodness in their lives on earth. God prolongs the lives of sinners so that they could repent and turn to Him before their physical death which will consume them in to the eternal death, of which there is no respite eternally, and they will all be condemned forever for their sins and lack of repentance (2 Thess 1:6, 8, 9-10; 2 Pet 3:9). Thus hardening of heart is a place where God say yes to the will of the sinner to let him go to fulfill his desire to continually rebel against Him even for eternity, and thus go to hell fire where their desire to live without the Presence of God will be fulfilled forever, and that is when they will realize that torment is the only state of existence without God's Presence (2 Thess 1:9; Mark 9:42-48). But it is too late for a sinner, as once a sinner enters hell fire, he cannot ever can be able to come out of it.

God proves his sovereignty at the end of all things by hardening the hearts of humans who reject his mercies consistently (John 12:40; Isa 6:9-10), when the time of judgment comes to show that He is the one who rules over the entire universe as its King and Lord over it (Psa 115:3, Pro 16:9, Gen 50:20, Isa 40:23, and 2 Chron 20:6). God's vessels of mercy are those who are saved and repent of their sins, through them God will reveal his glory. God is not partial to condemn some humans and send others to hell (Acts 10:34-35), but rather those who go to hell are they who choose hell out of their own volition for themselves, and then asks God not to disturb them anymore, God being a gentleman grants them their desire, and they suffer in hell for eternity (Rev 16:9, 11, 16; Rom 1:19-21, 24, 27, 32).

God never sends even a single human being to hell, rather He waits for all sinners to repent and be saved. Those who harden their heart against God perpetually, will one day be hardened by God and will be granted their desires to be fulfilled, which will take them to hell fire for eternity ahead. Also just because God knows what we will do by His omniscience, does not mean that He influences us to do what we do against His will, which is called as sin and evil works for which God judges us and makes us accountable because it was done out of our own will (Rom 14:12; 2 Cor 5:10; Heb 9:27; Acts 17:31; 1 Pet 4:5-6). God is the greatest real life movie director who has written the script for now and for eternity already, and have given a free will for all humans to take their part in His-Story, those actors who join with Him in His purpose and will, will end up enjoying their life and eternity with Him. But those who act on their own will and stand opposed to His purpose and will, will end up as villains without Him in His-Story which is what we call as History. History is the story line of God. Those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ will be judged for reward, those who have rejected it will be judged for their sinful works. Those who accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will end up in heaven to enjoy their life with God in his goodness, those who have rejected Him will end up in hell fire to be condemned for eternity ahead to receive his wrath and anger for their sins.

Much Blessings....


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