36225Hardening Of Heart
- Apr 11, 2014God hardens the heart of the self-willed and proud. Kallaassery Bava Thirumeni used to say that [hardness of heart] is the harshest punishment God inflicts on man. In Ex. 7:3-4 the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob tells Moses: [But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you; then I will lay My hand upon Egypt and bring forth My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, out of the land of Egypt BY GREAT ACTS OF JUDGMENT.] Referring to this, Apostle Paul writes: [So then He has mercy upon whomever He wills, and He HARDENS the heart of whomever He wills.] Rom. 9:18.
The severity of [hardness of heart], as a God-ordained ACT OF JUDGMENT, is to be measured objectively in terms of what it brings in its train.
1. Stubbornness or obstinacy that PREVENTS the afflicted from turning to the Lord for being restored and healed:
Jn. 12:40 reads: [For Isaiah again said, He has blinded their eyes and HARDENED their heart, lest they see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and TURN FOR ME TO HEAL THEM.]
2. Diminution of their capacity for discernment:
Mk. 6:52 states: [For they (the disciples) did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were HARDENED.] NOTE: The disciples' hardening of heart is attributable to their having been slow of understanding, and consequently, BELOW PAR in their spiritual discernment. As understudies to their Master, the Teacher of teachers, they could have been ABOVE PAR.
3. Deprivation of the blessing(s) striven for/after:
Apostle Paul writes in Rom. 11:7, [What then? Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were HARDENED.
4. The futility of resisting God's will out of HARDNESS of heart:
Job, in his trials and tribulations, queries his friends: [Who has HARDENED himself against Him (God), and succeeded?]
It is unfortunate that we have [hardening of heart] in our church on BOTH sides. Hardening of heart tends to make us unforgiving and vindictive; mutually disrespectful and aggressive. In other words, it makes us act in a manner inconsistent with our true identity as the Lord's BETROTHED BRIDE and MYSTICAL BODY. Every time we so act, we unwittingly crucify the Lord. Thereby, we invite God's unquenchable wrath. Heb. 6:4-6 affirms it. [For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, ... ..., IF THEY COMMIT APOSTASY, SINCE THEY CRUCIFY THE SON OF GOD ON THEIR OWN ACCOUNT AND HOLD HIM UP TO CONTEMPT.]
Apostle Paul reminds us: [Live in peace, and the God of love and peace WILL BE WITH YOU.] 2 Cor. 13:11. The Lord WILL NOT BE ON EITHER SIDE if the two sides DO NOT bury the hatchet, and forge ahead as an ANOINTED UNIFIED CHURCH to bring honor and glory to the Lord's precious name.
Let me conclude this message by quoting Heb. 3:15. [Today, when you hear His voice, do not HARDEN your hearts as in the rebellion.]
Nakkolackal V. L. Eapen, St. Gregorios Church, Austin, TX.