by Mike Ratliff
17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:17-24 (NASB)
In this short study we will look at the concept of spiritual blindness and the progressive “hardening” or “callousing” over of the heart toward God and His truth as men seek to center everything in self to have their worship and religion be Man Centered instead of where it should be, and is in the hearts of those truly Regenerate, God Centered. Oh yes, I do recognize that all of us must grow from spiritual infants into maturity and that we can and do follow false teachers and bad doctrine, but God will not keep those who are His in this darkness forever, but will do what it takes to draw them out even if it means they become ejected from their home church for example. I have heard examples of that from so many of you that I have lost track of the number and I no longer doubt that this is God’s doing for He did it to me as well.
Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. Focus especially on vv17-20. In v18 the work “hardness” in relation to “harndess of heart” is a translation of the Greek word πώρωσιν. The lexical form of this word is πώρωσις or pōrōsis. This is describing a blindness that is the result of a hardness or callousness. The usage of πώρωσιν is in the accusative singular. The direct object of the action here is the heart of the man-centered who are living in the futility of their minds and in real ignorance of God and His ways even though many of them think the very opposite. However, being man-centered, their hearts have become hardened to the truth of God and so they are not open to the truth.
This condition is a direct result of the fall (Genesis 3). All unregenerate people have hearts that are continually and deliberately growing more and more calloused toward God in spite of what the seeker-sensitive paradigm lie says. The result of this is that unless God performs a miracle of regeneration there, breaking through it, the hearts of these people become petrified, stone hard. Think of those to whom you have tried to share the Gospel or God’s truth and and you actually saw a stone-hard look materialize on their face. The longer you talked, the harder they got. This inner petrification of the very heart itself was the cause of this inborn ignorance which caused the darkening in spite of the light in nature and all the light inherited from Adam and from Noah, and with this darkening went alienation.
1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NASB)
On the other hand, as I mentioned above, God is a miracle worker. He is perfectly able to save those whom He has elected through the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5) and the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:1-10). He gives all whom He saves a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). All the regenerate are in Christ and possess this heart of flesh and in this we do rejoice.
My brethren, think of all those “ministries” that call themselves “Christian” or “Christ followers” or “new kinds of Christians,” but they are man and self centered in all they do. They do not operate in the fear of God, but in the fear of man. They combine bits and pieces from all the world’s religions and attempt to call that “Christian.” Nope, sorry. Those are just some examples of men working in the futility of the minds and the ignorance of God. They deny God’s own doctrines and try to do what is pleasing to man instead. These doing this and those leading this are spiritually blind. The only hope they have is the miracle of God breaking through those calloused hearts so we must pray for that to happen, but to be honest, they are actually already in the midst of the judgment of deception.
Soli Deo Gloria!