Friday, January 19, 2007


Ephesians 4:18, 19

Paul says the people of the world are separated from the life of God “because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Don’t live like the rest of the world because their hearts are hardened.

The hardening of the heart is a process that goes along with sin and the fall. With spiritual death the heart begins to harden toward God. As we sin our hearts grow harder and harder. The first time we commit a particular sin it might really hurt our hearts but the more we commit that same sin the harder our hearts become. Layer upon layer of sin hardens our hearts until we can sin without feeling anything at all. It is like a callous building up on our hearts. Growing up in Southern California we rarely wore shoes all summer. I remember that at the beginning of the summer I would feel a great deal of pain walking across the hot sand at the beach. But by the end of the summer I could walk just about anywhere without feeling any pain at all! The calluses on my feet were so thick that I could stick pins in them and I wouldn’t feel anything! That is the kind of effect sin has on our hearts. Our hearts lose sensitivity to sin and then we are free to commit even more sin without pain. But sin can never be satisfied. The very nature of sin, Paul says, lusts for more and more and greater and greater sin.

It is this hardening of the heart that leads to the ignorance that is in the non-Christian person, “because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” Paul is not talking about intellectual or academic ignorance. He is not saying these people are stupid. He is talking about spiritual ignorance, a lack of knowing the life of God, and an inability to recognize spiritual reality. Look at it like this. I can read a book about quantum physics. I can read the words but they mean nothing to me because I am ignorant when it comes to quantum physics! Likewise, very intelligent people can read the Bible or listen to a sermon but it means nothing to them because they are ignorant of spiritual things. And they are ignorant of the things of God because their hearts are hardened by sin.

What can be done for a person whose heart is hardened? Is there any hope? The only hope is a miraculous intervention by God. Only he can do something about a hardened heart! This is exactly what he promised to do and exactly what he did. Look at the prophecy of Ezekiel 11:19-21, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people and I will be their God. But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

What shall we Christians do? How can we keep our hearts soft toward God? The writer to the Hebrews said it this way in 3:12-15, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’” We should be careful to encourage each other to turn our hearts toward God. Our hearts can still be hardened by sin and rebellion against God. We are to encourage each other. We must share our lives together. We must love each other enough to share with one another and hear what others have to say to us. We must do all we can to keep our hearts soft toward God.


At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great thought, Shiloh... seems like, as a practical matter, it's the most important thing that we can do. Good word for me to hear today, too.


Post a Comment

<< Home