Does God really blind eyes and harden hearts?
Brenda asks... “In his gospel John cites Isaiah saying, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn to me, and I would heal them.” (John 12:40). Will God cause those who continually turn their back on Him to not be able to see, feel and know Him?“
This is indeed a very tough question and I’m not going to score a hundred percent on it! But perhaps I can offer a way of viewing this blinding or hardening that will be helpful.
Scripture teaches it is the Presence of the Holy Spirit upon this earth Who creates conviction of sin in the heart of an unbeliever and woos a soul to the Mercy and Grace of God.
“And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment:” (John 16:8, AMP).
But this Mercy and Grace of God will not be extended to mankind forever. This has been clear from the beginning…
“And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3, NKJV).
Remember, God does not owe us salvation! We are in the wrong here. “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Ps. 14:3). It is because of His great ‘compassion and favor’ that God acts to restore us to Himself,
“For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. (Eph. 2:8-9, AMP).
Once the Holy Spirit is removed from this earth His conviction and wooing will cease; there will be nothing acting upon sinful souls to draw them to Christ and salvation.
“For the mystery of lawlessness [rebellion against divine authority and the coming reign of lawlessness] is already at work; [but it is restrained] only until he who now restrains it is taken out of the way.” (2 Thess. 2:7, AMP).
This is why the hour is urgent as Paul writes, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2). Or as we read in Hebrews, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Heb. 3:15, Ps. 95:8).
But all of this aside we must still bow to the Sovereignty of God. God has every right to hardened hearts if it so pleases Him. However God is also always Just. He is also always Loving, and above all He is also always Holy. In all his actions God acts in consistency with all his attributes. He does nothing arbitrarily and all his works are good.
Tony Reinke comments,
“God’s judicial hardening is not presented as the capricious manipulation of an arbitrary potentate cursing morally neutral or even morally pure beings, but as a holy condemnation of a guilty people who are condemned to do and be what they themselves have chosen.” *
How blessed we are to be children of such a great and gracious God!
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