Blinded Eyes and Hardened Hearts

John 12:37-40 WEB

But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him, [38] that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” [39] For this cause they couldn’t believe, for Isaiah said again, [40] “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them.”


How can we be responsible for God blinding our eyes and hardening our hearts? This is the very thing Paul addressed in chapter 7 of Romans. It brings new meaning to the idea of being saved by grace. We are saved by grace but are rewarded for our choices. Those who seek the Lord with humility will find him. The Word says that the one who has some will be given more and the one who has little will lose even what they have (Mat 25:15-28). This gives us insight into how to respond to this passage.

If we seek God, he will soften our hearts and open our eyes to be able to see him. Seeking God is easy. It is reading the Bible, praying, and attending public worship. We can also seek God with our behavior. On the other hand, we can also push God away with our behaviors. If we deliberately sin God will harden our hearts so that we continue to sin. Of course, if we deliberately walk in righteousness the Lord will soften our hearts so we walk in more righteousness.

The Lord is righteous. He does not cast anyone away from himself who walks in righteousness and holiness. The Word says those he foreknew he predestined to be sons of God (Rom 8:29). It is not that God is fickle. It is that God knows the future. God knows who will choose him and who will not. Of those that choose him, he creates opportunities for success. For those who are never going to choose him, he gives over to sin and unrighteousness. The primary thing we can do to ensure that God continues to open our eyes is to seek God and walk in righteousness.


Lord, please open my eyes so I can see you and understand your will. Soften my heart so I recognize sin in myself and give me the chance to repent. I long to be both saved and to have a vibrant relationship with you, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Encouragement and Discipline

John 4:15-18 WEB

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.” [16] Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” [17] The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ [18] for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.”


The Lord had just told the woman at the well he could give her living water so she would never thirst again (John 4:14). Now, as soon as she asks for this living water, Jesus changes the subject. Jesus knows before she can receive living water, she needs to repent of her sin (1 Corinthians 4:14). The Lord will not ask the Father to give her what she cannot contain (John 14:10). Now, at this point in her exchange with the Lord, her life is filthy with blatant sin. Yet she loves God and has declared her beliefs boldly to the Lord. I can imagine that Jesus felt a great love for this sinner. So, he goes directly to the problem as it was revealed to him by the Father. He asks her about her sin (Matthew 11:27).

Jesus opens the door for her to repent and be healed (Mark 2:17). He does not bless the woman at the well in her sin, neither does he bless modern-day seekers if they stubbornly refuse to repent. Even so, the Lord will help you grow. He will reward your good choices and ignore your wrong choices for a little while. The covering of grace is enormous in the beginning. However, in time, he begins to both reward good behavior and bring discipline for wrong behavior (Hebrews 12:7).

At some point, the grace to remain in sin evaporates and each of us must make a mature decision to be obedient to the Lord. Jesus’ desire for us is to repent and be blessed. If we do not repent, he will let our hearts grow cold and indifferent (John 12:40, Acts 28:7).  Just like the Samaritan woman at the well, we all have sinned (Romans 3:23). The question is when Christ reveals to us our wrong behaviors and attitudes, will we stubbornly continue sinning or will we repent?


Lord Jesus, thank you for both encouragement and discipline. Please forgive me for stubbornly refusing to repent of sin. I trust you Jesus and I believe your grace is sufficient to see me through to obedience. I choose to repent now. In Jesus’ name, amen.