What causes a sinner to be hardened to the gospel?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Skandelon, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    Joe asked this question under another topic and I wanted to give it its own thread... I hope that is ok Joe?



    Joe,

    Well my answer depends on what type of hardening to which you are refering. There are two types of biblical hardening; each are described in detail below:

    1. Self-Hardening of the heart goes beyond the tragic obtuseness of our inherited condition in the Fall of man. Working on the fertile soul of our innately immoral hearts, the act of sinning hardens the heart into a stubborn rebellion against all that is good. So, people may harden their own hearts, in sinful rebellion, in bitterness, or in sheer self-will. (Ex. 9:34-35; 2 Chron. 36:13; Zech. 7:12; Dan. 5:20; Eph. 4:18; Heb. 3:12-15)

    This type of self-hardening is most clearly seen in Zech. 7:11-13:

    "Your ancestors would not listen to this message. They turned stubbornly away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the law or the messages that the LORD Almighty had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the LORD Almighty was so angry with them. ‘Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

    2. Judicial Hardening -- In a few instances such as Pharaoh and the Egyptians (Ex. 7:3; 9:12), Sihon, king of Heshbon (Deut. 2:30), and the Hivites living in Gibeon (John 11:19-20), it is said that God hardened their hearts. Apparently these people were so irremediable in their rebellion against God that God entered into the hardening process so that he could accomplish his purposes in spite of, and yet in and through, that hardenness. It is God's prerogative, as God, to do this (Rom. 9:18-21). That they are morally responsible for their condition is a theological given, and we are warned not to harden our hearts as they did, a command that would make no sense if hardening were simply God's act (1 Sam. 6:6).

    Israel's hardening as a nation was an act of self-hardening followed by God’s act of judicial hardening as clearly portrayed in the scripture (Matt. 23:37; Rom. 10-11).

    God tells Isaiah that Israel, with its calloused heart, will reject him as God's messenger when he goes to them (Isa. 6:9-10). The event was taken as prophetic by Jesus (Matt. 13:14-15) and Paul (Acts 28:25-27) as referring to Israel's rejection of Jesus as God's Messiah. For Paul, Israel's hardening paved the way to a ministry of ingrafting the Gentiles (Rom. 10-11; Acts 28:28) and was not intended by God to be final, but only until the fullness of the Gentile’s ingrafting was accomplished.

    Only the Word of God has the power to cut or pierce a hardened heart (Heb. 4:12) and he has given that word through his Son, the Apostles, the scriptures and by his Spirit all of which can be resisted and ignored as seen throughout the Bible as the hardenness and callousness of the heart only grows thicker with each act of rebellion.

    According to scripture only those in a hardened state are unable to see, hear, understand and believe (Acts 28:26-28: John 12:39-40). Calvinism’s doctrine of Total Depravity teaches that everyone is born in this condition due to the Fall of Man. The doctrine of Original Sin can clearly be seen in the scripture, but the Calvinistic system takes this foundational truth one step further by teaching that after the Fall God removed men’s capacity to respond to the call of the gospel, yet God, according to Calvinism, still holds men responsible for that response.

    I know this is probably much more than you were wanting but I've studied this doctrine extensively for the last 2 to 3 years and well, you asked. Sorry for the length. :cool: [​IMG]

    Blessings to you.
     
  2. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Skan,

    BROTHER SKAN SAID: Joe asked this question under another topic and I wanted to give it its own thread... I hope that is ok Joe?

    ME (BROTHER JOE): Thats fine Skan. I Look forward to what I hope will be many replys.

    Brother Joe
     
  3. John Gilmore

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    An excellent example of hardening are unworthy guests at the Lord's Supper. They become guilty of the body and blood of the Lord and eat and drink damnation unto themselves not discerning the Lord's body.
     
  4. John Gilmore

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    God didn't remove man's capacity to respond to the call. Man willingly surrendered his free will and became a captive of Satan. With each act of rebellion against God (e.g., faithless reception of the Lord's Supper), he becomes more hardened against the gospel.

    When the preacher tells him that his rebellion against God has earned him death and eternal wrath, he still does not repent. Instead, he mocks God, he thinks that he can fulfill the law, or he becomes terrified of hell.

    When the preacher presents the gospel of Christ, the Holy Spirit calls this captive of Satan to repentance and faith when and where God is pleased to have mercy. See Roman 10:18-21.
     
  5. Skandelon

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    Who decided what the punishment or effects of the fall would be? God did, right? If you disagree please tell me now.

    He had to decide that if man chose to eat of the fruit that they would lose their ability to respond to Him. Who else could be responsible for the punishment and effects of the fall. My son may lie to me, but I decide what punishment he will receive. He may deserve the punishment, but I am the one who determines what that punishment will be. So too, men may deserve the punishment of losing the capasity to respond, but it is still God who determined that would be the effect (assuming, of course, that is indeed what God determined, its not a biblical concept, only speculative)

    Now you are getting it! Notice they aren't born hardened as Total Depravity suggests. They become hardened with each choice of rebellion in the face of God's clearly seen and understood revelations.

    Can't argue with that. I'm sure you probably mean to imply that the call of the Holy Spirit is irresistable, but that is not a biblical concept either.
     
  6. npetreley

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    Not to pick nits, but the problem wasn't that they were unworthy -- we're ALL unworthy. The problem is that they were partaking of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. They were doing it unworthily (adverb, not adjective). In other words, they were not showing proper respect, which is severely dishonoring to God.

    I only mention this because it's a pet peeve of mine. It drives me crazy when a preacher tells everyone they need to examine themselves for unconfessed sin before they're allowed to partake of the Lord's Supper. The passage doesn't say anything of the kind. It tells us to examine ourselves to discern the WAY we are partaking of the Lord's Supper to make sure we are doing it with respect. Are we drunk? That's disrespectful. Are we eating with gluttony while others go hungry? That's disrespectful. Etc.
     
  7. John Gilmore

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    Now you are getting it! Notice they aren't born hardened as Total Depravity suggests. They become hardened with each choice of rebellion in the face of God's clearly seen and understood revelations.</font>[/QUOTE]There is no contradiction. When a man is born, he is uttered corrupted through original sin and can not free himself. Until he is regenerated, his condition worsens as he piles on sin after sin and further hardens his heart against God.

    No. The call of the Spirit is resistable. But, man does not resist of his own free will. He has none. He is merely a puppet of Satan.
     
  8. John Gilmore

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    Not to pick nits, but the problem wasn't that they were unworthy -- we're ALL unworthy. The problem is that they were partaking of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner. They were doing it unworthily (adverb, not adjective). In other words, they were not showing proper respect, which is severely dishonoring to God.

    I only mention this because it's a pet peeve of mine. It drives me crazy when a preacher tells everyone they need to examine themselves for unconfessed sin before they're allowed to partake of the Lord's Supper. The passage doesn't say anything of the kind. It tells us to examine ourselves to discern the WAY we are partaking of the Lord's Supper to make sure we are doing it with respect. Are we drunk? That's disrespectful. Are we eating with gluttony while others go hungry? That's disrespectful. Etc.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Anyone who considers himself worthy of the body and blood of Christ because of what he has done or not done is unworthy and unprepared. Our worthiness consists of the righteousness of Christ which is obtained by faith alone.

    Unworthy guests go to the Supper without the faith of Christ and without repentance for their past sins. They harden themselves against God by their unworthy eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    How does a condition worsen from "utterly corrupted?" How does one become more than totally depraved? How does a dead men get deader?
     
  10. Ray Berrian

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    The influences of the 'world, the flesh, and the Devil/demonic activity in the lives of sinners cause them to harden their hearts against the Lord Jesus. No spin! You will at one sitting of the reading of the N.T. epistles, find these cardinal truths.

    Jesus explains these facts Himself in Matthew 13:3-8. The different kinds of soil points to the human hearts or lives of those without Christ. Refer to various commentaries for clarity.
     
  11. John Gilmore

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    How does a condition worsen from "utterly corrupted?" How does one become more than totally depraved? How does a dead men get deader?

    Take Pharaoh, for example. He started out dead and his condition got progressively worse! God continually called Pharaoh to repentance. Each time his heart was further hardened. As scripture says, "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth."
     
  12. Skandelon

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    But if they weren't hardened they could see, hear, understand and repent and God would heal them.

    Right?
     
  13. Ray Berrian

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    I don't think we have to diagram this truth to most people. There is a difference between the innocency of a child and that of Saddam or Bin Laden.

    The question was: 'How does a condition worsen from "utterly corrupted?" How does one
    become more than totally depraved? How does a dead men get deader?'

    Please, do not try to hoodwink us for the sake of patching up the holes in friar John Calvin's attempt at systematizing Christian theology.

    All sinners though depraved also have been created by God after His likeness. [study James 3:9] James, the Lord's half brother, reminds us that we are not totally flawed so that we cannot hear the word of truth, before our regeneration. Study the word, {similitude} from the original language. 'The Spirit and the Bride say, Come . . . !' [Revelation 22:17]

    The free will of human sinners is pointed out through the Apostle John's words, ' . . . and whosoever will . . . ' Notice the fifth from the last verse of the 22nd chapter of the Book of Revelation. There is no autocratic Divine election here.
     
  14. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Ray Berrian,

    Hello and greetings.


    YOU (BROTHER RAY): The free will of human sinners is pointed out through the Apostle John's words, ' . . . and whosoever will . . .

    ME (BROTHER JOE): Brother Ray, John 3:16 is perhaps one of the most famous verses that Arminians like to use as a proof text to show that one has the ability by his own free will to believe the gospel. However, the verse itself says NOTHING EXPLICITLY regarding human ability. It simply says whoever does A will get B , that is, whoever believes doesnt perish. The verse says nothing regarding:
    1)Who will believe or
    ****2)Who CAN belive.

    Correct?

    The following verses are much more EXPLICIT regarding their commentary on human ability AND how one comes to a knowledge of the gospel. Please review them before commenting to this post:

    "NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)


    "neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matthew 11:27)

    "O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." (Luke 10:21)

    "flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew
    16:17)

    "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5)

    "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing..." (John 6:63)

    ""So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8)

    "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7)


    The preaching of the cross to an unregenerated person is foolishness. Morever, only a person that ALREADY the Holy Spirit will receive the gospel. This truth is apparent for Paul stated "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish (the unsaved) foolishness; but unto us which ARE SAVED (present tense) it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)


    A good rule of Biblical interpretation is always interpret the implicit verses of the Bible in light of the explicit ones we already know. The Bible clearly states that

    1) fleshly human beings "cannot please God (Romans 8:8)". It even goes so far as to say that those we are born again are born NOT " of the WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD (John 1:13)" and that eternal life is " NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, nor of him that runneth, BUT OF GOD that sheweth mercy." (Romans 9:16) Therefore, in light of these verses to develop a human ability doctrine from John 3:16 (which can only be done by IMPLICATION only), runs contrary to what the Bible has already EXPLICITLY said regarding human inability to respond elsewhere. This would be and is poor biblical interpretation, nevertheless, most arminians continue to err in this manner to this day.

    God bless,

    Brother Joe
     
  15. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Ray:

    YOU: Notice the fifth from the last verse of the 22nd chapter of the Book of Revelation. There is no autocratic Divine election here

    ME:Here is the verse, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely"

    Notice what the verse doesnt say. It doesnt say there is no doctrine of election, it doesnt say man has the ability to hear or free will ability to come on their own, and it doesnt say Christ died for every human being . NO VERSE In the bible EXPLICITLY says ANY OF THOSE THINGS, does it? Take care,

    Brother Joe
     
  16. Skandelon

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    John,

    Notice the comparison between Pharoah whose heart was hardened by God and the Jews whose heart was hardened by God.

    Pharoah was already evil and determined not to let the Israelites go, but God hardened his heart in that rebellion to ensure that he wouldn't let the people go too soon before God accomplished his purpose in the passover.

    So too, the Jews were already a rebellious people who he had held out His hands to all day long (Rom 10:21) and who he longed to gather under his wings but they were unwilling (Matt. 23:37). God hardened them, or sealed them in that state of rebellion given them a spirit of stupor so they could NOT see, hear or understand the truth of the gospel and return to God. Christ spoke in parables and told his disciples to keep things quite. He even praise God for revealing the truth to children but not to the wise religious leaders of that day. Why? Because God had a purpose to accomplish through their unbelief.

    He had the cross and the ingrafting of the Gentiles to accomplish which was accomplished through the temporary hardening of the Jewish nation. This is the issue Paul in addressing in Romans 9. He is NOT talking about Calvinism's elect (those being shown mercy) with the non-elect (those he hardens). He is talking about the fact that he can show mercy to even dirty rotten Gentiles who are not even of the "elect" nation and he can hardened even the "elect" and supposedly righteous Jews.

    Is God just in doing this? That is the question Paul is answering. He can temporary hardened a nation of rebellious people to accomplish a purpose because he is God and he can show mercy to a people who aren't even a real nation (Gentiles) because he is God.
     
  17. John Gilmore

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    How did innocent baby Saddam and baby Bin Laden turn into mass murderers? Is it a case of good children turning bad due to an unfortunate environment as the world believes? Or, were baby Saddam and baby Bin Laden not the innocents that they appeared to be?

    [ July 07, 2004, 08:51 PM: Message edited by: John Gilmore ]
     
  18. Skandelon

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    John,

    No one is calling them innocent from birth. We all affirm original sin. We are talking about total inability, they are two different doctrines.
     
  19. John Gilmore

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    No. God knew that Pharoah would reject His grace and so fulfill His purpose but God did not cause the rejection.

    God wishes to show mercy on all men. He desires the salvation of the sinner not his death. God pleaded with Pharoah. He chastised him. But, in the end, Pharoah refused every offer of grace. He refused, not of his own free will, but because he remained, to the end, a pawn of Satan.
     
  20. Ray Berrian

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    I am only going to explain verses or your concepts that seem to give you the most problems.

    You said, quoting the Scripture, 'NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)

    Ray: It is true that the Triune Godhead, including the Father draws sinners to salvation through Christ to eternal life. Without the drawing of the Father no one would accept Jesus. John, in no way, was saying that God is only drawing an alleged few elect souls.' Jesus is saying that without the working of God no one would be convicted of his or her sins, and would thereby remain in their lost condition. Hand picking an elect group for Heaven flies in the face of Almighty God's Divine Justice toward everyone born of a woman.'

    You said, 'neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever
    the Son will reveal him" (Matthew 11:27)

    Ray: Here we have the Son of God our Savior drawing sinners to Himself. Allah cannot not draw men to God; neither can Confucius draw men and women to this philosophic religion. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer says of this verse, 'According to this great invitation, it is possible to come to know the Father by the gracious offices and effective working of the Son, and no soul has ever found true rest apart from this intimacy with God.' {end quote} I am saying that God can only draw sinners as we witness to the Gospel. If they don't hear, see or read the plan of salvation, He cannot draw them. That's why Mark said in 16:15 that we are to be His witnesses at all times into every part of the world. Every 'creature'/sinner has saving value? Right or wrong? [See I Timothy 2:6] Jesus blood atonement is a ransom to all non-Christians.

    You said, 'NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father which hath sent me draw
    him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)

    Ray: First, the Last Day is not the last day of human history; Jesus will resurrect from the dead all His saints when He takes the church away to home in Heaven. [I Thess. 4:17] Only those who die 'in Christ' will be raised out of their graves at this distinct future time in God's history. Sinners will be raised after the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth, says, Revelation 20:5.

    Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit no sinners will ever come to Christ. He is at work at all times where and when people see and/or hear salvation's plan.

    You said, 'So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8)

    Ray: Maybe this merits an explanation to you. We all know the verse above and that we were or are sinners. [Romans 3:23] What's your point.

    You said, 'Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the
    law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7)

    Ray: Yes, and . . .

    You said, 'The preaching of the cross to an unregenerated person is foolishness.
    Morever, only a person that ALREADY the Holy Spirit will receive the gospel.'

    Ray: 'God does not force His way into the heart of a sinner without a human response to His truth.'



    far as to say that those we are born again are born NOT " of the WILL OF
    THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD (John 1:13)" and that
    eternal life is " NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, nor of him that runneth, BUT OF
    GOD that sheweth mercy." (Romans 9:16) Therefore, in light of these
    verses to develop a human ability doctrine from John 3:16 (which can only
    be done by IMPLICATION only), runs contrary to what the Bible has already
    EXPLICITLY said regarding human inability to respond elsewhere. This would
    be and is poor biblical interpretation, nevertheless, most arminians continue
    to err in this manner to this day.'

    Ray: No one can come to Christ without the calling of the Holy Spirit. Allah cannot convert a soul and neither can Confucius change the heart/life by this philosophic religion.


    You said, 'only a person that ALREADY has the Holy Spirit will receive the gospel.

    Ray: 'The Spirit of God forces no sinner into something they do not want or ask for; God believes in the agency of a man or woman. John 1:12 says that only 'as many as receive Christ receive the power {Greek--exousia= ability, privilege, or authority.'

    We all concur that we were not saved because of 'blood' human heredity, or by our own salvific ways, nor are we saved by lifting ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Salvation is of God alone.' [John 1:13]

    You wrongfully injected the word 'eternal life;' it is not found in Romans 9:16. You didn't think we would miss something so blatant as you just tried to pull.

    You again added to the Word of God by saying, 'and that eternal life is " NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, nor of him that runneth, BUT OF GOD that sheweth mercy." (Romans 9:16)'

    Ray: I must warn you that God is warning you of what you did above. Read Revelation 22:19.

    You said, 'Therefore, in light of these verses to develop a human ability doctrine from John 3:16 (which can only be done by IMPLICATION only), runs contrary to what the Bible has already EXPLICITLY said regarding human inability to respond elsewhere. This would be and is poor biblical interpretation, nevertheless, most arminians continue
    to err in this manner to this day.'

    Ray: Calvinists think faith comes from God as a gift, to those well thought of, elect. The Bible declares that a man or woman is the source of their faith or lack thereof. After the Spirit calls the sinner, man's response determines the final destiny of the soul.

    If you need proof read Hebrews 4:2 which reminds us that people can hear the Gospel plan of salvation but they must mix their faith/human response in order to bring about a saved condition of the soul.

    Also, notice the Arminian view is correct because in I Peter 1:7, 9, and 21 the great Apostle Peter did not say, 'That the trial of God's faith, or Receiving the end of God's faith, nor does Peter say, 'that God's faith given to you, so that our hope might be in God.

    Notice: Peter says, 'Your faith' which is a man or woman's response to the calling of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.' Hightlight in your Bible these verses where God speaks of 'Your faith.' It will keep you balanced as to your interpretation of Scripture.

    Berrian, Th.D.
     

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