Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Rejection - John 12:37-50
Today's study is going to take some close inspection, so grab your glasses or your Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass and let's get started!
We talked together last time about unbelief and rejection. The old saying is that "choices have consequences" and this is true. Unbelief has some serious consequences, too. We can't reject Jesus and expect things to rock along the way they always have been. No matter how mild a person's rejection is, it's serious to God the Father.
Sometimes a person may only reject God in their thoughts. They might never say a word or commit a public sin against Him. But no matter how small or mild the rejection, God still can't overlook someone rejecting His Son. He loves His Son too much, and also His Son has done just too much for man to be overlooked. When a person has a chance to see, and to open his heart, but chooses not to look -- or closes his heart, then that person suffers consequences.
In simple terms, "God so loved the world" and gave so much, that man cannot deny God's Son and expect there to be no consequences. In the passage we are studying, and in the companion passage in Isaiah's prophecy, they are spelled out: God blinds the eyes of the unbeliever, He hardens their heart, the person is condemned to be lost, and God's glory is never revealed to them.
Whoa! That's pretty heavy stuff . . . does that mean that God Himself causes the unbelief of a person before he or she is born? Nope.
A man or woman is lost apart from the will of God; they are lost against His will:
. . . He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone
to come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9b)
We see in that verse that a person is lost only because they choose to have nothing to do with God, and they choose to be lost.
Remember the passage in Exodus that describes Pharaoh? Every time that Moses came to tell him that God wanted him to let the children of Israel go, he would become harder to deal with. The passage repeatedly says that Pharaoh "hardened his heart" against God. He became more and more stubborn and unyielding. He chose not to believe, and not to obey.
When we turn to Exodus 8, we might be amazed at how many times it notes that Pharaoh hardened his heart against God. He chose to bring judgment on himself and on his nation by hardening his heart against God's commands. The more stubborn a person becomes, the more he refuses to repent, then the more hardened they become -- so much that they never think about repenting. A man or woman can become conditioned more and more against the truth, and then their openness to Jesus dwindles more and more.
God's will allows people to live and to make choices day by day. Believers have made the choice to follow His Son, and unbelievers have made the choice not to follow God's Son.
Which path have we chosen? If we are not certain that we have chosen to follow Christ, we need to make sure as soon as possible. If you have doubts, I encourage you to click on the link on our blog entitled "What is Salvation?" and follow the steps there.
Choose to believe! And to live!