Judicial hardening...the substance or the source?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by webdog, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. webdog

    webdog
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    Was thinking about the aspect of God's judicial hardening and whether this is a special action apart from the condition of man's heart...or if it is just the natural means God has designed.

    What I mean is this. The sun will melt wax and harden clay. The sun stays constant through both, it is the substance that is different, yet we say the "sun melted..." and the "sun hardened..."

    When the Bible says that God hardens man's heart, isn't this merely stating the condition of man's heart and not a particular action from God?
     
  2. Skandelon

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    In my view judicial hardening is simply hiding or confusing the revelation of truth which could otherwise lead to repentance. So God is not said to have caused or inticed anyone...he simply lets them continue down their already self hardened path and makes sure no revelation convinces them to repent prior to His great purpose being served.

    Let's look at another analogy. Suppose my 3 year old daughter was told that she is not to take cookies from the cookie jar. In another room, out of sight, I see into the kitchen that my daughter is looking at the cookie jar. She looks around the room to see if anyone is watching. As a parent, I can tell what she is thinking...she is about to steal a cookie and she knows she isn't supposed to.

    Now, as a parent I could step into the room so that she sees me prior to her committing this sin. Upon seeing me she would forego her evil plot and give up the idea of getting the cookie...at least until the next time she was alone. However, suppose I decide to not step into the room. I remain out of sight to allow her to be tempted and then pouce into action to catch her with her hand in the cookie jar.

    Now, by not stepping in at the moment I saw she was being tempted did I cause the temptation? No. I allowed it to continue, but I didn't cause it. I could have ended it my simply showing myself, but I didn't. This is like hardening. By simply hiding the truth (i.e. that I was present and watching) I allowed my daughter to sin. Am I in any way culpable for that sin? No. I merely allowed it though I could have stopped it.

    Could God have stepped into the 1st century and clearly shown Himself in Christ to make all the Jews of that time believe Him? Of course. He could have done a "Damascus road experience" with all the Jews if He wanted to. He didn't. Instead we see Christ telling his disciples to keep things quite until the right time. We see him hiding the truth in parables. WHY? If men are born deaf, blind and dumb to the truth why would he need to do this??? He did it because he didn't want them to come to repentance YET! He had a bigger redemtive purpose to accomplish through them first.

    KEY POINT: Don't allow the context of that judicial hardening of the Jews cloud your view of men's inherent nature. Men are very much capable of hearing, seeing and repenting when confronted by the powerful gospel truth if they have not been judicially blinded to that truth.
     
    #2 Skandelon, Jun 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2011
  3. JesusFan

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    Two aspects to this question, good one by the way!

    One is that all of us are born inherit witj a sin nature, so that the more we refuse to acknowledge the truth that general revelation tells all of us about God...

    that He does exist, all powerful, intelligent etc

    More we reject THAT light provided, darker we grow in 'giving" into sinning, hearts becoming harder and harder...

    basically they start the process to having NO regards for God, total refusal to say he even exists...

    God just completes the process at times, as when the Jews that were blinded to the Messiah in their midst were hardened by God to NOT be even able to hear and see Jesus the Messiah, and He did same to pharoah, in order to have him "used" by God through his own stubborness!
     
  4. JesusFan

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    Remember to add the sub point here though...

    That Those whom the Lord shows His grace and mercy upion will indeed hear/understand/respond in faith. rest do stay "hardened" to a degree!
     
  5. Skandelon

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    I don't agree, obviously, because I believe the grace God shows to all mankind can be rejected. That doesn't lesson the goodness of that grace or the greatness of the giver in any way. It only makes the recipient fully "without excuse" and fully culpable for their rejection. If you take away the clear revelation and understanding you give men back their excuse.
     
  6. Skandelon

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    Correct, but notice they aren't born blinded to that light (revelation) as Total Depravity suggests. They are born "clearly seeing and understanding" that revelation (ref. Rom. 1). They GROW hardened AFTER continual rejection. But some accept when they are young and never grow hardened to the light in the way this describes.

    Actually they start the process "knowing God" and "clearly seeing and understanding his divine nature and eternal attributes." Once they trade that clearly understood truth in for a lie THEN they are given over to their defiled hearts and minds. They aren't born hardened, they BECOME hardened in time. This is why the scripture warns us not to allow our hearts to grow hardened and to become like a little child to enter the heavens.

    Agreed. He did this temporarily for a greater redemptive purpose. But this act of God's judicial hardening of Israel shouldn't confuse people about the inherent nature of mankind from birth. The reason Jesus' audience couldn't come to him was not because of Total Depravity. It was because of judicial hardening and the fact that the gospel had yet to be sent into the world to make an appeal for all to be reconciled. ONLY after He was raised up did he sent the means to draw all men to himself. Up to that point it was being hidden from everyone except the remnant, who were given to Christ by the Father to be the foundation for the church and messengers to the entire world.
     
  7. JesusFan

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    the point there in isreal though would be that UNLESS God had decided to intervene and call to Himself out of their midst a faithful remnant. NONE would have been following God and receiving Christ...

    Same fashion, Peter preached on Pentacost and those who were 'given ears to hear" responded in faith and believed unto Christ to be saved...
    Also, just as he had his work in drawing out his faithful remanant in Isreal, in like fashion will have His own faithful remnant called out/elected from the mass of Humanity bent on doing as the others did ... refusing/rejecting Christ...
     
  8. Skandelon

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    True, God had to intervene with the powerful gospel truth, which if you remember was being hidden from the Jews lest they repent and believe (Mark 4; Matt 13 etc). God knows that the gospel may have persuaded some to repent, so he kept them blinded from it for a time.
     

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