Therefore They Could Not Believe

by Mike Ratliff

35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” John 12:35-40 (NASB) 

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.” Isaiah 6:8-10 (NASB) 

God is Sovereign. In John 12:40 the Apostle quoted Isaiah 6:8-10. I placed both passages in context at the top of this post. Notice John 12:39, “For this reason they could not believe” This is the NASB rendering. The NA28 Greek text for this part of v39 is, διὰ τοῦτο οὐκ ἠδύναντο πιστεύειν. Here is my rendering, “Through this they were not able to believe.” The word translated here as “not” is οὐκ (ouk), which is an absolute negative. Therefore what it is defining is absolutely negated and that verb is ἠδύναντο, which is the 3rd person, imperfect tense, indicative mood, middle voice form of δύναμαι (dunamai), which means “to be able, either intrinsically and absolutely, which the ordinary signification; or, for specific reasons.” The third part of this is the word “believe” which is a translation of the verb πιστεύειν the present tense, infinitive mood, active voice form of πιστεύω (pisteuō), “to have faith.” The way this is structured my brethren it is plainly a work of God that these people were not able “to have faith.”

I know some people in churches I have belonged to in the past who would probably be calling for my excommunication if I had said something like that to them back then, but that is exactly what the Word of God says my brethren. What this tells us is two things. No one comes to faith in Christ unless God allows it and gives them the ability to have faith. I believe the Lord Jesus succinctly said that in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. ” The second thing we learn is that when God’s judgment on the visible church starts it will be just like that which fell upon the Jews. No matter how much Biblical truth we preach and teach, those whose hearts are set upon that which is false, will be judged and God will give them over to what they really love and they will no longer be able to believe the truth. They will believe whatever pleases them, but God’s truth will be seen as too narrow and those who hold to it as divisive. They may include bits and pieces of religiosity from Churchianity in their religion, but they have their own theology, which is separate from historic orthodox Biblically based Christianity. This theology has its roots in human philosophy not in the doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The EC or Emergent Church or whatever it is called today is really just a post-modern form of Christian liberalism which decimated the visible church during the 19th Century into the 20th Century. This current iteration has many forms to be sure, but syncretism is across the board. If you think about it, if you oppose the narrowness of Orthodox Christianity then you would naturally not be opposed to including Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, mysticism, Word-of-Faith, et cetera under the Big Tent. In fact, that is exactly what they are doing. They are actually teaching that people who practice any religion can be right with God, it doesn’t have to be Christianity. No one has to have faith in Jesus and Him crucified to be saved. No, just be sincere in your beliefs that you have and God will let you in… Yeah, that’s Big Tent Christianity. I suppose it should be obvious to everyone, but has it ever occurred to anyone to look under that tent flap to see if John MacArthur is there? What about someone like Charles Spurgeon?  No, you see, those of us who are narrowly focused and divisive because we hold to Sola Scriptura and within that, the doctrine of Separation from false teachers, et cetera, we are not welcome there nor do we want to be there. No, we point to the Big Tent and warn our brethren to run away from it because it is the way to Hell. Once a person is captured by it, spiritual blindness sets in and they are no longer able “to have faith.”

Let us rejoice in this though. I am 100% convinced that the Holy Spirit guards those who truly belong to the Lord and He loses none. Those who are in Christ will not go into that darkness to be swallowed up into that blindness.

Soli Deo Gloria!

4 thoughts on “Therefore They Could Not Believe

  1. It is interesting that you use the term “Big Tent Christianity.” I have heard this term from only one other source, and the is the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), which my church is a part of. At least for now. We will be voting in two weeks to determine whether to stay in the C&MA or split from the denomination. And the issue is Big Tent Christianity. The C&MA has told us that they are a Big Tent Denomination, and the issues that are before us include the C&MA’s adoption of Woke Theology, the C&MA’s partnering with Bethel Church of Redding, California, and the C&MA’s move to ordain women to the pastorate. They keep telling us, “We are a Big Tent Denomination! You have to accept that!” Well, no, we don’t. I would like to print this article and pass it out to the people of our church.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Go ahead and print it. Yes, C&MA is compromised and you should have nothing to do with them just as you should have nothing to do with Bethel Church of Redding or any so-called Christian group that adopts Woke Theology because it is not the Gospel. It is not of God. It is a worship of man and man’s philosophy.


  3. Reblogged this on Just Walking Together and commented:
    Timing is everything. I read that Scientology had a commercial in the Super Bowl. Luckily I missed it. Of course what is from within the visible church is even more concerning. And unfortunately your message here will not be read or understood as true by many. About 375 years ago, the old Westminster Large Catechism described it like this:

    Q. 13. What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?
    A. God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth), hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.

    Btw, Mike’s last point about our assurance was confirmed a few verses earlier in John 6.

    Joh 6:39  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
    Joh 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.


  4. Love your posts, Mike. Sadly, C.S. Lewis, the sacred cow of organized religion, believed one’s faith in Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism could lead them to the one true God… as long as they were “sincere” in their faith. He also believed the book of Genesis was a fable. Try exposing this truth to any church in America and prepare to be eviscerated by supporters of his heresy.


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